Monkey goats can be curbed if we act now, says the WHO

  • Mass vaccination is not needed at the moment, the body says
  • More information on vaccine stocks is needed
  • Outside of Africa, about 300 cases have been reported so far

GENEVA, May 27 (Reuters) – Countries should take swift action to curb the spread of monkey goats and share data on their vaccine supplies, a senior World Health Organization official said on Friday.

“We believe that if we take the right action now, we will probably be able to curb it easily,” said Sylvie Briand, director of the World Health Organization’s Global Infectious Disease Preparedness Organization, at the UN’s annual meeting.

Monkey goats are usually a mild viral infection that is endemic in parts of West and Central Africa.

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It is spreading mainly through close contact and until the recent outbreak was rarely seen in other parts of the world, so the recent occurrence of cases in Europe, the US and other areas has raised alarm.

So far, there are about 300 confirmed or suspected cases in about 20 countries where the virus has not previously circulated. read more

“For us, we believe that the key priority at the moment is to try to limit this transfer in non-endemic countries,” Briand said at a technical briefing for member states.

Necessary measures include early detection and isolation of cases and tracking of contacts, she added.

Member States should also share information on stocks of first-generation black goat vaccines, which could also be effective against monkey goats, Briand said. read more

“We don’t know the exact number of doses available in the world, so we encourage countries to come to the WHO and tell us what their supplies are,” she said. The slide of her presentation described the global stock as “very limited”.

Currently, WHO officials advise against mass vaccination, instead proposing targeted vaccination where it is available for close contact of infected people.

“Investigating a case, tracking contacts, isolating a home will be your best options,” said Rosamund Lewis, head of the WHO Secretariat for Black Goats, which is part of the WHO Emergency Program.

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