At a press conference, WHO announced that the total number of infections since the outbreak began has exceeded 35,000 and the disease has caused 12 deaths.
With cases registered in 92 countries, the virus circulates almost exclusively in Europe and America and almost all infections are identified in men who have sex with other men, but the WHO stressed the importance of protecting from the virus if you are living with infected people.
When asked about the news released on Tuesday about a possible first case of transmission from a human to a dog, in Paris, WHO said it was informed of the case, pointing out that this is not an unexpected situation, since domestic animals usually live in a closed environment and in close proximity to infected people, much like other family members.
The head of WHO Health Emergencies considered that the risk in this situation is mainly related to the possibility of the virus settling in new species and evolving, which can change the way the virus works or the immune system responds.
"We must not allow the virus to establish itself in another animal population, every precaution must be taken," stressed Mike Ryan.
At the same press conference, WHO's smallpox expert, Rosamund Lewis, explained that there are several ways for people to protect themselves in a family context, namely by isolating the patient, maintaining good hygiene and handling waste carefully. The vaccine is another option, but currently demand outstrips supply.
Regarding the vaccine, WHO’s General Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has admitted concerns about the potential risk of a new situation of unequal access, to the detriment of the poorest countries, as we have seen happen during the covid-19 pandemic.
WHO is currently in contact with Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic, which produces the vaccine used to prevent smallpox, to discuss options such as technology transfer or allowing other laboratories to also produce the vaccine.
Even so, Rosamund Lewis stressed that the vaccine "is not a silver bullet" for the outbreak, because there is still no conclusive data on its effectiveness overall, In the 1980s the smallpox vaccine was said to be 85 percent effective.
According to Rosamund Lewis, this explains why there has been identified cases of reinfection among already vaccinated people and, therefore, Rosamund Lewis insists that prevention also involves reducing the number of sexual partners.