Monkeypox ‘won’t lead to pandemic’, but medics unsure how it will spread – World News

World Health Organization (WHO) medics are confident the virus will not cause a pandemic but are considering whether it should be classified as a “potential public health emergency of international concern”.

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Monkeypox: UK health agency is urging people to watch out for symptoms

World Health Organization medics don’t think the monkeypox outbreak will lead to a pandemic – but are considering whether it should be classified as an emergency.

The sudden spike in cases has stunned experts who are unsure whether infected people who are showing no symptoms can transmit the disease.

Monkeypox is usually a mild illness that is spread through close contact and can cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions.

More than 300 suspected and confirmed cases of the disease were reported in May, mostly in Europe.

The WHO is considering whether the outbreak should be classified as a “Potential Public Health Emergency of International Concern” or PHEIC.

Such a declaration, as carried out for COVID-19 and Ebola, would help accelerate research and funding to contain the disease.

One of the first known cases of the monkeypox virus is shown on a patient’s hand


(Getty Images)

Rosamund Lewis, technical manager for monkeypox at the WHO Public Health Emergencies Programme, was asked if it had the potential to become a pandemic.

She said: “We don’t know, but we don’t think so.

“Right now we are not afraid of a global pandemic.”

After contracting the disease, the time between the appearance of a rash and the fall of the scab is recognized as the infectious period.

A patient whose skin developed a series of lesions due to an active case of monkeypox


AP/PA images)

However, there is limited information on whether the virus spreads through people who are not symptomatic, Ms Lewis added.

“We really don’t know yet if there is symptomatic transmission of monkeypox — past evidence has shown that this is not a major feature — but that has yet to be determined,” she said.

The virus strain involved in the outbreak is believed to be killing a small proportion of those infected, but no deaths have been reported so far.

The monkeypox virus under a microscope


(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Most cases have occurred in Europe rather than Central and West African countries, where the virus is endemic and largely unrelated to travel.

Scientists are therefore investigating what might explain this unusual increase in cases, while health officials suspect there is some level of community transmission.

Some countries have started offering vaccines to close contacts of confirmed cases.

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