Global health officials are concerned about the growing number of monkeypox cases in Europe and elsewhere, with one type of viral infection more common in West and Central Africa.
As of Saturday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92 confirmed cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported from 12 member states that are not localized to the virus.
The UN agency said it hopes to identify more cases of monkeypox as it will increase surveillance in countries where the disease is not commonly found and provide more guidelines and recommendations on how to reduce the spread of monkeypox to countries in the future.
What is known about the current prevalence and relative risks of monkeypox is as follows:
How dangerous is it?
The U.S. public health official told reporters at a briefing on Friday that the risk to the general population is low at this time.
Monkeypox is a virus that can cause symptoms, including fever, pain, and a distinct rash.
It is related to smallpox, but usually mild, especially strains of the West African virus that were identified. A In the US, the mortality rate is about 1%. Most people recover completely within two to four weeks, officials said.
The virus does not spread as easily as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that caused the global Covid-19 epidemic.
Experts believe that the current outbreak of monkeypox is spread through close skin contact with a person who has an active rash. Experts say that once the infection is detected, it will be easier to detect its spread.
“Kovid is spread through respiratory infections and is highly contagious. Dr. Martin Hirsch of Massachusetts General Hospital says that doesn’t seem to be the case with MonkeyPix.
“What seems to be happening now is that it came into the population as a sexual form, the size of a genitalia, and spread as a sexually transmitted infection, spreading the disease around the world,” WHO official David Heyman, an infectious disease specialist, told Reuters. Says.
Are health experts concerned?
Recent outbreaks reported so far are unusual, according to the WHO, as they occur in countries where the virus is not transmitted regularly. Scientists are trying to figure out if anything has changed about the source of the current case and the virus.
Most of the cases reported so far have been identified in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal. Similar incidents have occurred in Canada and Australia, and a single case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Boston, with public health officials saying there are likely to be more cases in the United States.
WHO officials have expressed concern that further outbreaks could occur in Europe and elsewhere in the coming summer months as people gather at festivals, parties and holidays.
How can people be protected from infection?
The UK has started vaccinating healthcare workers who may be at risk when caring for smallpox vaccine patients, which could also protect against monkeypox. The U.S. government says its Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) contains enough smallpox vaccines to vaccinate the entire U.S. population.
A spokesman for the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that there were antiviral drugs for smallpox that could also be used to treat monkeypox in certain situations.
More broadly, health officials say people should avoid close personal contact with someone who has a rash or who is otherwise ill. Those who suspect they have monkeypox should seek medical attention separately.
What could be behind the spike in the case?
“Viruses are nothing new and expected,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Institute for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Rasmussen said a number of factors, including climate change as well as increased global travel, have accelerated the emergence and spread of the virus. He said the world is on high alert for any new outbreak in the wake of the Kovid epidemic.