Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Cases of Monkeypox Reported World Over, WHO Calls Emergency Meeting

The rare viral disease commonly found in Central and West Africa is transmitted through direct human-to-human contact or through contact with contaminated materials.
May 21, 2022

Several cases of monkeypox, the rare viral zoonotic disease, have been identified in various parts of the world – many European countries, the US, Canada, and Australia – ever since the first case related to the current spread was found in the UK on May 7. Its outbreak has become a cause of concern as earlier the virus was mainly found in Africa, but is now spreading fast.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that commonly occurs in the forested areas of Central and West Africa where animal carriers of the virus live. A WHO statement said that to date, in general, about 80 cases of infection have been confirmed in 11 countries of the world, with another 50 cases being studied.

“As we enter the summer season in the European Region with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that there will be more infections…,” said Hans Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe.

Monkeypox is transmitted through direct human-to-human contact, including sexual contact, or through contact with contaminated materials.

Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease, with symptoms lasting 14 to 21 days. Usually, the infection causes mild symptoms, itching or pain in the affected areas on the skin may be felt; in some cases, the infection may be more severe.

So far, the number of cases in the region is relatively low, but there is concern that some of them do not appear to be related to travel to countries where monkeypox is endemic.

Many cases are detected in clinics that specialise in sexually transmitted infections. It is not clear at this time how widely the virus is circulating in the population, but an increase in cases should be expected in the coming days.

The WHO noted that people with suspected illnesses should be tested and isolated. WHO is working closely with countries in the region, sharing information and providing support for case detection and investigation. WHO says they are monitoring the rapidly evolving situation and will publish updates on it.