The window of opportunity to stop the spread of monkeypox is closing amid fears it may spread to children

THE window of opportunity to stop the spread of monkeypox is closing, experts warn.

It comes as a vaccination campaign to sting those most susceptible to the diseases has been slowed due to shortages.

Monkeypox has spread worldwide and vaccines have been introduced to try to curb the bug

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Monkeypox has spread worldwide and vaccines have been introduced to try to curb the bugPhoto credit: Getty
The table above shows the different monkeypox symptoms and what to look out for

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The table above shows the different monkeypox symptoms and what to look out for

Around 20 cases of the bug are currently being caught each day in the UK, up from 35 a week ago.

The latest data from the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says there are 3,081 confirmed cases in the UK – with a further 114 most likely infections.

The US has 14,115 cases, with California and New York having the most.

Now experts have said that as the number of cases has increased, the chance of containing the disease has diminished.

Fears over fight to stem spread of monkeypox amid'vaccine shortage'
Man contracted monkeypox after dancing in a crowd at an outdoor event

Professor Eyal Leshem, of Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, said there could be spillovers from the current population to others – including children, vulnerable groups and pets.

“We know from previous outbreaks that you have a very short window of opportunity when you want to stop an outbreak. At this point, we’re seeing that window of opportunity slowly closing,” he told CNBC.

The bug is more severe in young children, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has warned of preliminary evidence suggesting children under the age of eight could develop a more serious reaction to the virus.

Young children with eczema and other skin conditions, as well as children with immunosuppressive conditions, may also be at higher risk for serious illnesses, according to the CDC.

In rare cases, the virus can lead to encephalitis (swelling of the brain), pneumonia, sepsis, vision loss and more, the CDC reported.

It’s not clear why children are more at risk — as are pregnant women and immunocompromised adults.

So far, children had been largely spared from the outbreak, with most cases seen in men who had sex with men.

At least eight children in the US and one man under the age of 15 in the UK are believed to have contracted the disease so far.

The number of cases is very small compared to the larger epidemic, which has reported a few thousand people.

To deal with this, Britain had initially ordered 50,000 vaccinations – enough to vaccinate 25,000 people.

A total of 150,000 have now been ordered, which is the maximum available.

Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UKHSA, warned the UK could run out of vaccines in some areas before more doses arrive in a week.

She said: “There may be a short period, probably three or four weeks, where vaccines will run out in some areas.

“And in those cases, we make sure that the people who have come forward are verified and reinvited, so they just have to make sure their names are available.

“And once the vaccine is in, we will get it into people’s arms.”

The outbreak was mostly focused on men who have sex with men – so people in that community had previously been asked to come forward for the sting.

“NO SILVER BULLET”

Health chiefs have warned this group to be extra vigilant about monkeypox symptoms, especially if they’re about to have sex.

Despite the jab drive, experts have said it won’t be a “silver bullet” to stop the spread.

dr Rosamund Lewis, World Health Organization (WHO) chief on monkeypox, said those who think they may be at risk should “reduce the number of their sexual partners and avoid group or casual sex”.

She added that even after a vaccination, you should wait about two weeks before having sex again — that’s usually the time it takes for the body to form an immune response.

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) in the US said yesterday that monkeypox should now be treated as a sexually transmitted disease (STI).

Experts from the group said classifying the bug as an STI more accurately reflects transmission of the new clade, or strain of the virus.

“After the initial and miserable global, federal, state and local responses to monkeypox, we simply have NO time to lose, we must view and respond to monkeypox as an STI or STD if we are ever to get a handle on this virus,” he said AHF President Michael Weinstein.

“Treating and treating monkeypox as an STD is the best way forward for our collective public health response,” he added.

Although cases are still being identified in the UK, UKHSA chief executive Dame Jenny Harries said the outbreak could be flattened.

https://www.the-sun.com/health/6034785/window-opportunity-stop-monkeypox-closing-fears-kids/ The window of opportunity to stop the spread of monkeypox is closing amid fears it may spread to children

Sarah Y. Kim

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