The World Health Organization, in a statement issued on Friday, confirmed around 80 monkeypox cases with recent outbreaks reported in 11 countries.
According to WHO, the said outbreaks are unusual since they are happening in countries where the virus is not endemic. It added that more cases will possibly be reported in the next few days as surveillance broadens.
“WHO is working with the affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected, and to provide guidance on how to manage the disease,” the agency stated.
Nations in Europe have confirmed dozens of cases that are part of the largest monkeypox outbreak on the continent in history, as per the German military. Meanwhile, the U.S. has confirmed at least a single case, and Canada revealed two. The said disease is usually found in Central and West African rainforests, areas where carrier animals of the said virus live, as per the WHO.
Monkeypox: Should People Be Worried?
The disease is caused by a virus that comes from the same family as smallpox. Luckily, it’s not as severe, according to the CDC. However, there is still a possibility of death in as many as 1 in 10 people who get the disease, as per the observations made in Africa.
The vaccine made to prevent smallpox is 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, based on studies in Africa, as per both the WHO and the CDC.
Monkeypox is a disease spread via close contact with infected people, animals, or materials. The virus enters the body through the respiratory tract, broken skin, the eyes, nose, and mouth. While human-to-human transmission via respiratory droplets can occur, this may require prolonged face-to-face contact since droplets are unable to travel more than several feet, as per the CDC.
The symptoms of monkeypox usually start off with those similar to the flu, including fever, malaise, headache, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and exhaustion, as per the CDC. Within one to three days since the onset of fever, patients usually develop rashes that start on the face and spread to other parts of the body. The illness usually goes on for around two to four weeks.
In the United States, the CDC confirmed a case of the disease in Massachusetts on Wednesday. The patient had recently gone to Canada via private transportation. Meanwhile, New York City is currently investigating a possible case, as per the city’s health department statement on Thursday.