WHO: High efficacy of smallpox vaccination against monkeypox

Diseases
WHO: High efficacy of smallpox vaccination against monkeypox

smallpox vaccination

Many older people still have such a scar from the smallpox vaccination on the upper arm. Photo: Bernd Weißbrod/dpa

© dpa-infocom GmbH

Monkeypox has recently spread. According to the World Health Organization, however, many people are protected – by a long-past vaccination campaign against another pathogen.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the formerly common smallpox vaccination is 85 percent effective against an infection with monkeypox. She reported this on Saturday in Geneva, citing studies.

Routine smallpox vaccination was stopped after smallpox was declared eradicated in 1980. Deaths from monkeypox can occur primarily in small children and people with compromised immune systems, such as those caused by HIV infection, the WHO reported. No deaths have been reported outside of Africa since cases were first reported in mid-May. More than 90 percent of those infected made a full recovery, according to studies, regardless of whether they were vaccinated against smallpox or not.

The number of monkeypox cases reported in countries outside Africa since May continues to rise. The WHO reported 1285 cases on Saturday – but referred to the status of June 8th. In Germany alone, dozens of other cases have been reported since then. The Robert Koch Institute named 165 cases from nine federal states on Friday. According to the WHO, at least 28 countries outside of Africa are affected. Since the beginning of the year, a good 1,500 suspected cases have been reported from eight African countries, where the disease has been known in some cases for decades. 72 victims died.

The WHO assumes that monkeypox may have been circulating undetected in countries outside of Africa for weeks. However, she considers the risk of global spread to be moderate.

In Berlin, the Standing Vaccination Commission (Stiko) recommended vaccination for risk groups and people who have had close contact with infected people on Thursday. This includes men who have same-sex sexual contact with changing partners. Staff from special laboratories may also be eligible for preventive vaccination. According to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), the vaccine will be available from June 15th.

dpa

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