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Suryakant Jena

With Monkeypox disease gradually spreading its tentacles across the globe, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared it a global emergency.

How many cases worldwide?

So far while the viral infection has been reported in more than 75 countries with over 19,000 cases, deaths have only been reported in Africa.

In India which has already recorded few cases, the Indian Council of Medical Research has invited expressions of interest from private companies to develop a vaccine to protect the vulnerable against the virus.

Who are at risk?

The WHO has issued several advisory for people to reduce the transmission of the virus from suggesting gay men at risk to reduce sexual partners to people with symptoms to adopt social distancing. Small children, pregnant women are also are greater risk due to the disease.

Who are priority groups for vaccination?

Earlier last week, the WHO listed out the priority groups who should be vaccinated against the disease first. According to the global health body, targeted vaccination for those exposed to someone with monkeypox, & for those at high risk of exposure, incl. health workers, some lab workers, & those with multiple sexual partners is necessary.

At this time, we do not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox, the WHO has said.

Notably, India government is yet to issue a directive regarding who should be vaccinated first or who is ‘high risk’.

WHO is developing a research framework that countries can use to generate the data we need to better understand how effective these vaccines are in preventing both infection and disease, and how to use them most effectively, the WHO chief said.

What are the vaccines available?

Presently, one smallpox vaccine, called MVA-BN, has been approved in Canada, the European Union and the U.S. for use against monkeypox. Two other vaccines, LC16 and ACAM2000 are also in order for vaccination.

Situation in Odisha:

The Odisha government will conduct a high-level meeting on Saturday to discuss on various aspects of the Monkeypox outbreak. The state authorities have already alerted health officials to maintain vigil against the disease. Apart from that, Cuttack SCB has been made the nodal hub for the disease management.

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