The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Sunday that 780 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported from 27 countries that are not endemic to the monkeypox virus. This represents an increase of 523 lab-confirmed cases (+203 percent) since May 29, when a total of 257 cases were reported. However, no deaths have been associated with the current monkeypox outbreak.
While epidemiological investigations are ongoing, the Global Health Authority said most reported cases to date have been submitted through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary health care, and primarily, but not exclusively, involve men who have sex with men. (MSM).
But monkey pox is not a sexually transmitted disease. The virus can spread through any form of prolonged skin-to-skin contact with an infected person who has a lesion. It can also spread through bodily fluids, contaminated sheets and clothing, or respiratory droplets if a person has a lesion in the mouth.
“Since May 13, 2022 and as of June 2, 2022, 780 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported to or identified by WHO from 27 Member States in four WHO regions not endemic to monkeypox virus,” the WHO said in a press release. a statement.
So far, the West African clade of the virus has been identified through case examples. And most confirmed cases reported travel to countries in Europe and North America, rather than to western or central Africa where the monkeypox virus is endemic.
“Confirmation of monkeypox in individuals who have not traveled to an endemic area is atypical, and even one case of monkeypox in a non-endemic country is considered an outbreak,” the WHO said.
The WHO noted that the “sudden and unexpected appearance of monkeypox in several non-endemic countries at the same time suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for an unknown length of time”.
Scientists also agree with the theory that the monkeypox virus may have been circulating quietly for years before suddenly emerging globally.
“There may have been undetected transmission for a while,” said Dr. Rosamund Lewis, WHO’s technical chief for monkey pox at a recent briefing. “What we don’t know is how long that might have been. We don’t know if it’s weeks, months or possibly a few years.”