WHO reports 780 cases of monkeypox, most in Europe

Skin rashes typical of monkeypox.


The World Health Organization (WHO) reported this Sunday (06.05.2022) that 780 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in 27 countries where the virus is not endemic, and maintains that the global risk level is moderate. 88 percent of cases have been diagnosed in Europe, details the latest situation report on this disease.

The number of those 780 cases, recorded from May 13 to last Thursday, is likely an underestimate due to limited epidemiological and laboratory information. “It is highly likely that other countries will identify more cases and that there will be a further spread of the virus,” says this UN health agency.

The countries where the virus is not endemic that have registered the most cases are, according to the WHO, the United Kingdom (207), Spain (156), Portugal (138), Canada (58) and Germany (57). More than a dozen cases have also been registered in the United States, Belgium, France, Italy and the Netherlands, as well as two infections in Argentina and one in Mexico, according to data received by the WHO from national health networks. Australia, Morocco and the United Arab Emirates have also reported infections.

Low risk, but…

In view of the increase in confirmed cases, which have tripled in a week, the Geneva-based organization maintains the global risk of this outbreak at a “moderate” level, as it is the first time transmission has been recorded in non-endemic countries. and also with so many spotlights and so scattered. Most of the cases have been detected in sexual health consultations and other primary and secondary care points, “and involve mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with other men,” the follow-up report reiterated.

Although the risk to human health and the general public remains low, the risk to public health may be high if this virus manages to establish itself in non-endemic countries as a widespread human pathogen. Sequencing of the virus in many laboratories in affected countries indicates that the outbreak is linked to variants of monkeypox in West Africa, initially with lower lethality than those in the central part of the continent.

So far this year, 1,408 suspected cases of the disease have been registered in the endemic countries, and 66 deaths, mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, although there are also more than a dozen infections in Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Nigeria.