WHO unveils new monkeypox variant names

As a first step in renaming the monkeypox virus and its variants, an expert group convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) has agreed on new names for the variants, as the WHO continues to collect proposals on a new name for the disease itself.

In other developments, a host of new studies have shed light on symptoms and diagnosis, as well as transmission and contact tracing. One article detailed the asymptomatic cases.

Work still in progress on the name change

In a statement, the WHO said that when monkeypox was named when it was discovered in 1958, best naming practices were not in place and variants were often identified by the geographic regions where they were known to occur. circulate.

However, a more recent practice is to use nomenclature that avoids stigma and negative impacts on trade and travel.

The WHO said it convened the expert panel on August 8 to speed up the naming process. The experts reached a consensus on the names of the clades: clade 1 for the clade of the old Congo Basin (Central Africa) and clade 2 for the old clade of West Africa.

The experts also agreed that the two subclades of clade 2 would be called clade 2a and clade 2b. The clade 2 variants are the main ones circulating in the current global epidemic.

Global total nears 32,000 cases

As the official global monkeypox total nears 32,000 cases, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported 409 new cases, bringing the national total to 11,177 cases. So far, Wyoming is the only state with no confirmed cases.

The District of Columbia recently expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccination to anyone of any sexual orientation who has had multiple sexual partners in the past 2 weeks. It also relaxed residency restrictions to include people who work in the district and students enrolled in district colleges.

Officials said the criteria align with CDC recommendations and respond to an increase in cases. The District of Columbia has the highest cases per capita in the nation.

Meanwhile, Canadian officials said early signs suggest the country’s monkeypox outbreak is slowing, according to Reuters. In an Aug. 12 briefing, Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam, MBBS, said cases were not increasing as rapidly as they were at the start of the outbreak.

Clinical clues, follow-up lessons

In new clinical findings, German researchers who examined the first six patients hospitalized at a Berlin facility said unprecedented severe anal pain was the chief complaint of five of them.

Anal lesions and ulcers were common. All were men who had practiced receptive sex without a condom, reinforcing the hypothesis based on multiple reports that sexual transmission plays a key role in the current epidemic.

In addition, a team from Argentina and the United States said that the assessment of six people with suspected monkeypox from Argentina and three from Bolivia revealed that three had laboratory-confirmed monkeypox infections, but that four of them had an atypical hand-foot-mouth syndrome. caused by coxsackievirus A6 (CV-A6), which affects young adults and affects unusual areas of the body, including the genital area, which they believe could be confused with monkeypox. They noted that South America is seeing a marked increase in CV-A6.

Meanwhile, new studies have provided insights into contact tracing and the epidemiology of the disease. Belgian researchers who retrospectively examined 224 samples taken for gonorrhea and chlamydia testing at a sexual health clinic in May found that 4 men tested positive for monkeypox. One had a painful rash, but three had no symptoms, suggesting some infections go undiagnosed and testing and quarantine are not enough to contain the outbreak.

British researchers who interviewed 45 monkeypox patients found that sustained transmission in the sexual networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men had been occurring since at least April. The epidemic developed through sexual contact in dense networks, often between several new partners, which makes contacts difficult to trace.

The team also said they learned of significant transmission taking place at on-site sex venues.

Many patients were in contact with sexual health services for HIV care and other issues, suggesting an opportunity to target those most in need with interventions, including the smallpox vaccine. monkey. Several infected men have used geospatial dating apps, which the authors say would be a useful platform for health promotion.

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