Monkeypox Outbreak: Weekly Update (October 17, 2022)

Global monkeypox cases surpassed 70,000 last week, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). A study suggests that the monkeypox virus stays on surfaces, including the hospital staff’s personal protective equipment.

As of October 14, there were 27,317 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death in the US.

Over 70,000 cases globally

As of October 13, more than 70,000 cases of monkeypox and 26 deaths have been reported worldwide, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. Globally, the number of cases continues to decline; however, in the previous week, 21 countries, mainly in the Americas, reported an increase.

“Once again, we caution that a declining outbreak can be the most dangerous outbreak because it can tempt us to think that the crisis is over and to let down our guard. That’s not what the WHO is doing. We continue to work with countries around the world to increase their testing capacity and monitor trends in the outbreak”, Tedros said during the press briefing in Geneva.

Monkeypox virus stays on surfaces

A study published in the journal Lancet Microbe examined environmental contamination with the monkeypox virus from infected patients admitted to isolation rooms at the Royal Free Hospital in London.

Contamination was detected in 56 of 60 samples of surface swabs of high-touch areas in five isolation rooms, of the personal protective equipment (PPE) of health-care workers in doffing areas in three rooms, and from air samples collected before and during bedding changes in five rooms.

Some positive samples were collected from areas that were unlikely to have been directly touched by patients, such as the air vent above the door between the bedroom and the bathroom.

Researchers say the study findings could be relevant to public health measures for other spaces and settings where individuals with monkeypox spend prolonged periods, such as residential bedrooms and bathrooms.

A previous study found that the virus is more likely to remain viable on porous surfaces (such as linens) than on non-porous surfaces.

Perinatally acquired monkeypox infection

The New England Journal of Medicine described the case of perinatally acquired monkeypox virus infection and adenovirus coinfection in the UK. The infant, born in late April 2022, developed a rash on day 9 of life. The vesicular rash first appeared on the palms and soles, spread to the face and trunk, and eventually became pustular.

The infant’s father developed the rash nine days before birth, while the mother developed the rash four days after delivery.

Due to evolving hypoxemic respiratory failure, the infant was transferred to the pediatric care unit, where he spent four weeks, including 14 days of invasive ventilation. The infant was prescribed a 2-week course of enteral tecovirimat (also known as TPOXX) in combination with intravenous cidofovir.

“Because this was a single case, it is not possible to attribute the clinical illness to either pathogen (monkeypox virus or adenovirus) directly, nor is it possible to attribute the improvement in the infant’s clinical condition to the use of tecovirimat or cidofovir,” the authors say.

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