Monkeypox may again threaten physical gatherings – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a report released Tuesday has identified concerns around physical gatherings as key transmission routes for the monkeypox virus are skin-to-skin, mouth-to-mouth, and mouth-to-skin contact during sexual activity.

The report titled ‘Public Health Advice For Gatherings During The Current Monkeypox Outbreak’ forewarns that gatherings may be risk factors for the spread of the disease.

According to the WHO, some gatherings may lead to attendees socially interacting with people previously unknown to them and so may contract or spread the disease.

“It is still unclear if infected people with no symptoms can transmit the monkeypox virus, making it important for anyone attending gatherings to exert additional care,” the report stated.

The WHO recommended that the decision-making process related to holding, modifying, postponing, or canceling gatherings of any size and type should rely on a risk-based approach, tailored to the characteristics of the event under consideration and be repeated at regular intervals.

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In its submission, the agency touched on three risk-based approaches which are evaluation, mitigation, and communication.

These approaches range from identifying and quantifying the baseline risks based on characteristics of the event and the context in which it takes place, applying precautionary measures aimed at decreasing the baseline risk, and proactively disseminating information on measures adopted, the rationale and purpose behind them, and how relevant decisions were taken.

“In the context of the current outbreak, monkeypox-associated risks should be considered and factored in when planning a gathering event,” the organisation said in the report.

“Gatherings attendees should always be reminded to apply individual-level responsibility to their decisions and actions, with the aim of preserving their health, that of the people they interact with, and ultimately that of their community,” it added.

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