Following an upsurge in cases in Europe and North America this month, health experts said on Monday that the likelihood of monkeypox spreading widely among the general population is extremely low, and transmission may be prevented outside of endemic areas in Central and West Africa.

Since early May, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported fewer than 200 confirmed and suspected cases in Australia, Europe, and North America, raising fears about the disease’s spread.

Even though monkeypox has been detected for forty years, the World Health Organization (WHO) noted that this was the first time that several cases were documented in multiple countries at the same time, and among people who had never visited endemic areas in Africa.

The UN agency, on the other hand, believes that outbreaks in non-endemic areas may be contained and that human-to-human transmission of monkeypox can be avoided.

Similarly, the European Union’s European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dismissed fears of a widespread outbreak.

Monkeypox is usually not fatal, but it can cause fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.

Contact with infected people’s skin sores or body fluid droplets can spread the virus.

There is no cure, although symptoms often resolve within two to four weeks. The sickness has afflicted eleven African countries.

On Monday, US Vice President Joe Biden stated that “further efforts” would not be required to halt the spread.

Remain vigilant

“This is a manageable problem, particularly in the countries where these outbreaks are occurring in Europe and North America,” said WHO’s emerging disease chief Maria Van Kerkhove on Monday via the UN health agency’s social media platforms. “Human-to-human transmission must be eliminated. In non-endemic countries, this is viable.” She stated. 

The majority of victims, according to Andrea Ammon, director of the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), had only minor symptoms. “The possibility of general public spread is quite low,” Ammon added.

“However, the possibility of continued viral transmission through intimate contacts, such as during sexual activities among individuals with several sexual partners, is significant,” she said.

Despite the low danger, Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, emphasized the importance of “remaining vigilant” through contact tracing and proper testing capacity.

According to the ECDC, the virus can cause serious sickness in “young children, pregnant women, and immunocompromised people.” The organization also addressed the possibility of “human-to-animal transmission,” saying that if the virus is passed on to animals, “the sickness might become endemic throughout Europe.”

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