Friday's warning by the World Health Organization (WHO), was that nearly 200 monkeypox cases in countries where it is not commonly transmitted, were "just the tip" of the iceberg. ".
Sylvie Briand (director of the WHO's Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness Department), said that "we don't know" if the virus is spreading beyond the surface of the ocean. This was during Sylvie's presentation to member countries on the "unusual spread of the virus," during the World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland.
Experts are still trying to figure out what caused this "unusual circumstance", but preliminary results don't show any mutation or variation of the monkeypoxvirus, stated Sylvie Briand.
She stated that there is a window of time to stop transmissions now. "We can contain the transmission if we take the necessary measures now."
On May 7, the UK reported its first case. Around 200 cases of the virus have been reported in countries far away from where it is endemic. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control reported that 219 cases, but no deaths, were reported by Wednesday's ECDC (including 7 in France).
Monkeypox is endemic in eleven West and Central African countries. It has been discovered in over twenty countries, including Australia, the United Arab Emirates, and several European countries.
On Friday, there were 98 confirmed cases in Spain, 90 in the United Kingdom, and 74 in Portugal according to the Ministry of Health. All the cases in the last country are men, with the majority of them under 40 years old.
Sylvie Briand explained that we are at the very beginning of this event. "We know that we will have more cases over the next days," Sylvie Briand said. "It's not something the public should be concerned about." It is not Covid or any other rapidly-spreading diseases.
Monkeypox is part of the same family that smallpox. Smallpox killed millions every year worldwide until 1980. Monkeypox, however, is less severe and has a death rate between 3 and 6%. Patients usually recover within three to four weeks. Initial symptoms include high fever, swelling glands, and skin rashes.
Experts point out that although homosexuals are most common victims, there is not enough evidence to prove that the disease was transmitted sexually. Instead, experts say that close contact with infected people with skin lesions would be more likely.
Although there is no cure for smallpox, antivirals have been created to combat it. According to Sylvie Brind, one was approved recently by the European Medicines Agency.
The effectiveness of smallpox vaccines against monkeypox is 85%. However, smallpox vaccines are not available for most people below 45 years of age.