August 16, 2022

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More than 3,400 monkeypox cases reported to WHO globally: 5 things to know

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The World Health Organization decided last week not to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed over 3,400 reported cases of monkeypox and one related death globally as of last Wednesday, with majority of them from Europe. In an update on Monday, the WHO said that 1,310 new cases were reported to the UN health agency since June 17, with eight new countries reporting monkeypox cases.

The WHO decided last week not to declare monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak. The WHO also acknowledged there were many unknowns about the outbreak.

“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, this is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are following extremely closely,” Tedros said in a statement.

 things to know about monkeypox:

  • Monkeypox is a large DNA virus belonging to the orthopoxvirus family. Unlike the related smallpox virus, variola, which only affected humans, monkeypox virus is found in rodents and other animals in parts of Africa.
  • While orthopoxviruses do not mutate much, multiple mutations have been described in the virus causing the current outbreak. In the US, at least two separate strains have been circulating.
  • Since the incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days, it takes an average 8.5 days from infection to showing symptoms.
  • The rash caused by monkeypox usually looks like fluid-filled blisters that erupt. People are infectious while they have the rash, and are usually infectious for about two weeks.
  • Past vaccination against smallpox provides 85% protection against monkeypox, according to experts quoted by PTI.
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