GENEVA, May 30 (The CONNECT) – Monkeypox has spread to 23 non-endemic countries which reported in all 257 cases with the UK topping the list having listed 106 cases, the World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows.
As many as 120 cases are under investigation in these countries and the vast majority of reported cases so far have no established travel links to an endemic area and have presented through primary care or sexual health services.
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis - a virus transmitted to humans from animals - with symptoms very similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. It is caused by the monkeypox virus which belongs to the Orthopoxvirus genus of the Poxviridae family. The name monkeypox originates from the initial discovery of the virus in monkeys in Statens Serum Institute, Copenhagen Denmark, in 1958. The first human case was identified in a young child in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1970.
In the current outbreak, Portugal reported 49 cases, followed by Canada (20), Spain (20), The Netherlands (12) and the US (10).
The Democratic Republic of Congo has a cumulative case tally of 1,284 since January 1 to May 8 this year.
Monkeypox virus is transmitted from one person to another by close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding. The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.. The identification of confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox with no direct travel links to an endemic area is atypical.
Early epidemiology of initial cases notified to WHO by countries shows that cases have been mainly reported amongst men who have sex with men (MSM). One case of monkeypox in a non-endemic country is considered an outbreak. The sudden appearance of monkeypox simultaneously in several non-endemic countries suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for some time as well as recent amplifying events.