Africa CDC says renaming monkeypox variants reduces stigma

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KAMPALA, Uganda – The head of the African public health agency says he is “really delighted” that the World Health Organization is renaming monkeypox disease strains to remove references to African regions amid concerns over stigma .

The variant of the disease formerly known as the Congo Basin is now called Clade 1 and what was previously known as the West African clade is now called Clade 2, the report announced. United Nations health agency last week, saying it would hold an open forum to rename monkeypox altogether.

“We are very pleased to now be able to call them Clade 1 and Clade 2 rather than refer to these variants using African regions,” said Ahmed Ogwell, acting director of the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, during of a briefing. Thursday. “We are really pleased with this name change, which will remove the stigma of pathogenic variants.”

This year, more monkeypox deaths have been reported on the African continent than anywhere else in the world. A total of 3,232 cases including 105 deaths have been reported in Africa, although only a fraction have been confirmed as the continent lacks diagnostic resources.

At least 285 new cases have been reported since the agency’s last briefing a week ago, Ogwell said, adding that the West African countries of Ghana and Nigeria are reporting 90% of new cases. . Liberia, Republic of Congo and South Africa are the other countries reporting new cases.

Ogwell, who urged the international community to help all 54 African countries improve their ability to test for monkeypox and control its spread, said he had no epidemiological insights to share regarding the spread of monkeypox in Africa.

But he noted that while 98% of cases are in men who have sex with men outside Africa, what is happening on the continent of 1.3 billion people “does not reflect what others see. parts of the world”.

“Our goal is to build capacity so that every country at risk is ready to be able to identify these cases quickly,” he said.

The spread of monkeypox usually requires skin-to-skin or skin-to-mouth contact with an infected patient’s lesions. People can also become infected through contact with the clothes or bedding of someone who has monkeypox lesions.

Most people infected with monkeypox recover without treatment, but it can cause more serious symptoms like brain inflammation and, in rare cases, death.

The variant of monkeypox that is spreading in Europe and North America has a lower death rate than that circulating in Africa, where people have mostly been sickened after coming into contact with infected wild animals like rodents and squirrels.

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