Stay away from the monkeys and leave the beleaguered creatures alone. This is the strict order of the World Health Organization (WHO) following the global outbreak of monkeypox.
The appeal follows reports that primates have been poisoned and killed in Brazil by those seeking misplaced revenge against the suspected source of the contagion.
Brazilian news site G1 reported on Sunday that ten monkeys had been poisoned in less than a week in the city of Sao Jose do Rio Preto, Sao Paulo state. Similar incidents have been reported in other cities, AP reports.
“What people need to know is that the transmission we are seeing is happening between humans,” WHO spokeswoman Dr. Margaret Harris said at a Tuesday press briefing at WHO headquarters. the United Nations in Geneva, in Geneva.
Brazil has more than 1,700 cases of monkeypox, according to WHO’s own figures.
The country’s health ministry confirmed one death related to the disease on July 29. The victim was a man with low immunity and comorbidities, the AP report said.
British authorities have told people with monkeypox they should abstain from sex in the hope of curbing the spread of the disease. https://t.co/x9WkcWK7C3
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) June 1, 2022
Contagion can take place from animals to humans, but the recent outbreak is linked only to human contact, according to Harris, who expressed sadness for the creatures.
“People definitely shouldn’t attack animals,” she said.
Brazil also has a long record of monkey attacks during yellow fever outbreaks.
Since May, nearly 90 countries have reported more than 29,000 cases of monkeypox.
The WHO classified the outbreak of this once-rare disease as an international emergency in July, as Breitbart News reported:
The head of the World Health Organization has said the growing outbreak of monkeypox in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that has now been labeled a global emergency. https://t.co/X8E5yZTDHZ
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) July 23, 2022
Monkeypox is not primarily transmitted by monkeys; instead, until the current outbreak, the virus was most often found and spread by rodents, reports NBC News.
Harris explained that monkeypox got its name because the virus was first identified in a group of monkeys in a lab in Denmark in 1958.
“That’s the only reason he has that name,” she said.
Harris stressed that the concern should instead be about where the virus is circulating in populations and what steps people can take to protect themselves.
The best way to fight the virus, Harris said, is for “people [to] recognize that they have symptoms and seek medical help and attention and take precautions to prevent transmission.
Raising awareness among at-risk groups is key in this regard, she said.
The virus is spread through close contact and most – but not all – cases have so far been recorded in men who have sex with men.
The WHO has urged people not to stigmatize those infected.
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