The World Health Organization said that as of Saturday, 92 cases of monkeypox had been confirmed, and that another 28 cases were being verified in 12 countries where this virus is not considered endemic.
The United Nations organization added that it expects to discover more cases of monkeypox while expanding surveillance in countries where the disease is not usually found, and that it will provide more guidance and recommendations in the coming days to countries on how to reduce the spread of monkeypox.
How dangerous is it?
A US public health official told reporters Friday that the risks to the general public are currently low.
Monkeypox is a virus that can cause symptoms that include high fever and pain and appears as a characteristic rash.
The disease is related to smallpox, but it is usually milder, especially the West African strain of the virus detected in an infection in the United States, which has a mortality rate of about one percent.
According to the official, most people recover completely within two to four weeks.
The virus is not transmitted as easily as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that prompted the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Experts believe the current outbreak of monkeypox is spread through direct contact with the skin of a person with an active rash.
And “Reuters” quoted Dr. Martin Hirsch of Massachusetts General Hospital as saying: “Covid is spread through the respiratory system and is highly contagious. This does not appear to be the case with monkeypox.”
David Heymann, an official at the World Health Organization and an infectious disease specialist, said: “What appears to be happening now is that it has reached the population in the form of sexual or (via) the genitals, and it is spreading like an STI, resulting in amplify its transmission around the world.”
What do health experts care about?
According to the World Health Organization, the outbreaks that have been recorded so far so far are atypical because they occur in countries where the virus usually does not spread.
Scientists are seeking to understand the origin of the current infections and whether anything about the virus has changed.
Most of the cases recorded so far have been discovered in Britain, Spain and Portugal, and infections have also been recorded in Canada and Australia, and one monkeypox case has been confirmed in Boston, where public health officials have announced the possibility of more infections appearing in the United States.
WHO officials have expressed concern that more infections may emerge as people gather for festivals, parties and holidays over the coming summer months in Europe and other regions.
How can people be protected from infection?
Britain has begun vaccinating health care workers, who may be at risk while caring for patients, with a smallpox vaccine that can also protect against monkeypox.
The US government says it has enough smallpox vaccine stored in its strategic national stockpile to vaccinate the entire US population.
A spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement that there are antiviral drugs for smallpox that can also be used to treat monkeypox under certain conditions.
More broadly, health officials say people should avoid close contact with someone who has a rash or appears sick.
People who suspect they have monkeypox should self-isolate and seek medical attention.
What may be the reason behind the rise in injuries?
“Viruses are nothing new and they are expected,” said Angela Rasmussen, a virologist with the Vaccines and Infectious Diseases Organization of the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
She added that a number of factors precipitated the emergence and spread of viruses, including increased global travel and climate change.
She said the world is also on greater alert for new outbreaks of any type of virus in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.