(CTN News) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not believe the monkeypox outbreak outside Africa will lead to a pandemic, an official said on Monday, adding it is unclear whether infected people who are not showing symptoms of the infection can spread the disease.
More than 300 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox, a mild illness spread through close contact and characterized by flu-like symptoms and pus-filled lesions, have been reported mostly in Europe this month.
(WHO) ‘not concerned’ about monkeypox outbreak becoming a pandemic
Rosamund Lewis, WHO Health Emergencies Programme technical lead for monkeypox, responded: “We don’t know but we don’t think so.”
“At the moment, we are not worried about a global epidemic,” she said.
After monkeypox has been contracted, the period in which the rash appears and the scabs appear is known as the infectious period, but there is limited information on whether the virus can spread by people who are not symptomatic.
According to her, we don’t know whether monkeypox is transmitted asymptomatically – past indications have indicated this feature isn’t significant – but this remains to be determined.
A strain of the virus implicated in the outbreak has the potential to kill a small percentage of people infected, but no deaths have been reported so far.
In Europe where the virus is endemic, rather than in Central and West African countries, most cases have not been linked to travel.
Scientists are trying to figure out what might explain this unusual surge of cases, and public health authorities suspect a community transmission may be involved.