Monkeypox outbreaks in non-endemic countries just the beginning: WHO

Monkeypox. Image credit: CDC

Geneva: The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the 200 monkeypox cases detected recently in the countries where it is not endemic could be just the beginning and more cases are likely to be reported in the coming days.

The disease, which has symptoms like smallpox, is rare in humans. It is known to affect mostly simians (monkeys and apes).

The initial signs of the disease are fever, intense headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, back pain, muscle ache and weakness. In many patients, skin eruption is also seen.

“We know that we will have more cases in the coming days,” Sylvie Briand, WHO’s epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention chief, acknowledged in a briefing to countries on the “unusual” spread of the virus.

Health agencies have said that most of the cases were detected in gay men.

Experts have said there have been very few cases of monkeypox outside west and south Africa in the past 50 years.

According to reports, the first case in humans was reported in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.

On May 22,  the World Health Organisation called an emergency meeting to discuss the outbreak of monkeypox.

The cases include — UK 90, Spain 98 and Portugal 74.

Previous reports said Italy, the US, Sweden, and Canada have also reported monkeypox cases.

All the countries said the infected people were young men mostly under 40 years.