The World Health Organization warned Friday (May 27, 2022) that the 200 cases of monkeypox that were detected in recent weeks in countries where the virus does not usually spread, could be the “tip of the iceberg.”
“We don’t know if we’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg,” said Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO’s Department of International Preparedness for Infectious Risks, in a presentation at the World Health Assembly in Geneva on the “uncommon” spread of the virus.
Briand added that experts are trying to determine the cause of this “unusual situation”, and preliminary results show that there is no mutation or mutation in the monkeypox virus. And she continued: “We have a window of opportunity to stop the outbreak now… If we take the appropriate measures now we can probably contain it quickly, we are currently at the beginning of this event,” and added: “We know that there will be more cases in the coming days,” but “this is not a disease that should worry.” It’s the general public, it’s not Covid or other diseases that spread quickly.”
The number of confirmed cases of monkeypox virus around the world reached 219, on Wednesday, in 20 countries that are not endemic, according to a report issued by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The outbreak is alarming because monkeypox, which spreads through close contact and was first detected in monkeys, occurs mostly in West and Central Africa, and rarely elsewhere.
The majority of infections were recorded in three European countries: the United Kingdom, where the first unusual cases were detected in early May (71 cases), Spain (51) and Portugal (37), according to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
This disease is endemic in 11 countries in West and Central Africa, and it is from the smallpox family, which was eradicated about forty years ago, but it is less dangerous than it. It initially causes a high temperature and quickly develops into a rash with blisters.
The disease has spread to many countries around the world. In Asia and the Pacific, Australia recorded the first infection of a traveler who had recently returned from Britain. A suspected case was also registered.
In Europe, the disease was discovered in Austria (one case), Belgium (two cases), the Czech Republic (one case), Denmark (two cases), Finland (one case) and France (five cases).
Germany recorded three injuries, while Italy confirmed the discovery of nine cases, and the Netherlands reported several cases, without specifying an exact number of injuries. Portugal confirmed the discovery of 74 cases, while Slovenia recorded one case.
As for Spain, it discovered 25 new cases recently, bringing the total to 84 cases, and Sweden and Switzerland each recorded one case, while the United Kingdom monitored 70 cases.
In the Middle East, Israel confirmed its first infection on May 21. While the official Emirates News Agency (WAM) stated that the UAE recorded the first injury on May 24.
In the Americas, Argentina announced its first suspected case on May 23, and Canada recorded 25 cases. The United States has confirmed the discovery of 11 cases so far.