The World Health Organization has confirmed about 80 cases of monkeypox with recent outbreaks reported in 11 countries, according to an announcement Friday by the global health body.
According to the World Health Organization, the outbreaks are unusual because they are occurring in countries where the virus is not endemic. More cases are likely to be reported in the coming days as surveillance expands, it said.
“WHO is working with affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance to find and support those who may be affected, and provide guidance on how to manage the outbreak.” , the agency said.
European nations have confirmed dozens of cases in the largest-ever outbreak of monkeypox on the continent, according to the German military. The US has confirmed at least one case and Canada has confirmed two. Smallpox in monkeys is commonly found in the tropical forests of Central and West Africa, where the animals that carry the virus live, According to WHO.
The 2003 electron microscope image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows oval virions in adult monkeys, left and spherical juvenile virions, right, obtained from a human skin sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak.
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner | CDC via AP
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus in the same family as smallpox, but not as serious. However, monkeypox can lead to death in 1 in 10 people based on observations in Africa, According to CDC.
Smallpox vaccine is 85% effective in preventing smallpox in monkeys based on observational studies in Africa, according to WHO and CDC.
Monkeypox is spread through close contact with people, animals, or materials contaminated with the virus. It enters the body through broken skin, respiratory tract, eyes, nose, and mouth. Although person-to-person transmission is also thought to occur via respiratory droplets, that method requires prolonged direct contact because the droplets cannot travel more than a few feet, According to CDC.
Monkeypox usually begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. According to CDC. Within one to three days of the onset of fever, the patient develops a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. The illness usually lasts for about two to four weeks.
“As monkeypox is spread through close contact, the response needs to be focused on those affected and those in close contact with them,” the WHO said. Healthcare workers, family members, and sexual partners of people with the virus are at increased risk.
The CDC confirmed a case of monkeypox in Massachusetts on Wednesday. This person recently arrived in Canada by private vehicle. New York City is investigating a possible case of smallpox in monkeys, according to a health department statement Thursday.
In 2003, the United States had an outbreak of smallpox in monkeys, the first outside Africa, caused by human contact with infected prairie dogs kept as pets. That outbreak has resulted in more than 70 reported cases.