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WHO calls for 'intense' global response to end global monkeypox outbreak, local officials monitoring cases

Europe Monkeypox
Posted at 7:11 AM, Jun 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 07:28:22-04

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla.  — “We’ve got to hit it at the source,” said Dr. Jill Roberts, Associate Professor for USF College of Public Health.”

Scientists around the world are now closely monitoring monkeypox cases as the World Health Organization said the global outbreak has escalated to more than 50 countries.

“People have been living very comfortably that monkeypox was an Africa problem. It’s no longer an Africa problem now that it’s spread to Europe and to the states and to all these places. So we never should’ve ignored it. We never should’ve pretended it was just an Africa problem,” said Roberts.

This past week, WHO confirmed more than 3,200 cases of monkeypox but stopped short of declaring it a global health emergency which is considered the highest public health alert.

RELATED: WHO opts not to declare monkeypox a 'public health emergency'

Global leaders are now calling for communities around the world to step up monkeypox surveillance, contact tracing and testing.

“The laboratories don’t normally test for monkeypox,” said Roberts.

In Florida, the Health Department confirmed a monkeypox case in Pinellas County, with at least 22 cases across the state and more than 173 nationwide.

“Your chances of being exposed to it are relatively low. However you should be aware of the symptoms,” said Roberts.

Doctors said an infection starts with flu-like symptoms including headache, fever, and body aches. With monkeypox, experts said people will notice swollen lymph nodes and a rash will likely follow.

The rash can be all over the body, most commonly found on the hands and feet but with this outbreak, doctors said they’re noticing something different.

“So this monkeypox is really presenting as a rash in the genitals and the anal area,” said Roberts.

If you have any of these symptoms you need to seek medical care to help limit the spread.

“What will happen is they will aggressively go out and vaccinate any contact,” said Roberts.

Health officials said stopping the spread is going to require an intense response.

The virus is spread from prolonged, close contact with someone who’s infected or from their clothing or bed sheets.

“Monkeypox, it cannot spread easily. It’s not going to blow up into a coronavirus-type situation. That said, the potential does exist for it to cause serious disease in the people who get it,” said Roberts.