WHO reports 92 confirmed, 28 suspected monkeypox cases

The World Health Organization (WHO) has been informed about 92 confirmed and 28 suspected monkeypox cases at countries that are not endemic to the virus, it said on Twitter on Sunday.

"Ninety-two laboratory confirmed cases, and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox with investigations ongoing, have been reported to WHO from 12 member states that are not endemic for monkeypox virus, across three WHO regions," the WHO said.

Reported cases have no established travel links to endemic areas, the organization said.

The identification of the disease in people that didn’t travel the endemic countries "represents a highly unusual event," according to the WHO, adding human-to-human transmission is occurring among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic.

"Based on currently available information, cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics," the WHO said.

Genome sequence from a swab sample from a case in Portugal indicated a close match of the monkeypox virus causing the current outbreak, to exported cases from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Israel and Singapore in 2018 and 2019.

Monkeypox endemic countries are: Benin, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, and South Sudan.

WHO said it’s convening experts to discuss recommendations on vaccination.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease mainly transmitted to humans by contact with infected wild animals (rodents or primates). The human-to-human transmission is limited, as it requires close contact.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, backache, swelling in the lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. It may be followed by a rash on the face and body.

The WHO said mortality rates from the monkeypox outbreaks had been usually from 1 percent to 10 percent, though most fatalities were recorded in younger age groups.

There is no specific treatment or a vaccine for monkeypox, but the vaccines previously used to eradicate smallpox provide highly effective protection against this disease.

The monkeypox virus, which spread in some Western European countries in April and May, has also been detected on other continents.

Overall, at least 11 countries, namely Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States, have recently reported cases of monkeypox.

Source: Philippines News Agency

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