Monkey pox: “for the time being” monkey pox virus is unlikely to cause a pandemic, WHO said

Monkey pox: "for the time being" monkey pox virus is unlikely to cause a pandemic, WHO said

The World Health Organization (WHO) does not believe that smallpox cases outside Africa are leading to a pandemic, the official said on Monday, adding that it is still unclear whether asymptomatic people can transmit the disease.

In May, more than 300 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox (usually a mild disease that spreads through close contact and can cause flu-like symptoms and blistering skin rashes) were reported, mostly in Europe.

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WHO is considering whether cases outside Africa should be considered “Potential public health threat of international concern”. A statement such as that made for COVID-19 and Ebola would speed up research and funding to reduce the disease.


Asked if the situation had the potential to turn into a pandemic, Rosamund Lewis, technical manager for smallpox in the WHO Health Emergency Program, said: “We don’t know, but we don’t think so.”

“We are not concerned about a global pandemic at this time”, she added. Once monkeypox becomes infected, the time between the appearance of the rash and the pouring of the scabs is considered an infectious period, but there is little information on whether the virus is spreading to people who do not spread it. No symptoms, she said.

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No deaths were reported

The virus strain involved in the outbreak may kill a small proportion of those infected, but no deaths have been reported so far.

Most cases have occurred in Europe rather than in Central and West Africa, where the virus is endemic and generally unrelated to travel.

Researchers are therefore trying to find out what could explain this unusual increase in cases, while public health authorities suspect a certain degree of community transmission. Some countries have started offering vaccines to close contacts with confirmed cases.

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Smallpox: “The risk to public health could be high,” warns the WHO

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