LONDON (AP) – British health officials reported 73 more cases of monkeypox on Monday, raising the total to more than 300 across the country. To date, the UK has the largest identified outbreak of the disease outside of Africa, with the vast majority of infections among gay and bisexual men.
Health officials warn that anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, is potentially at risk of contracting monkeypox if they are in close contact with a patient, their clothing or their bedding.
On Sunday, the World Health Organization said more than two dozen countries that have not yet identified cases of monkeypox have reported 780 cases, a more than 200% increase in cases since late May. No deaths from monkeypox have been recorded outside of Africa.
The UN health agency said most cases in Europe and elsewhere were detected in sexual health clinics and “affected mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men”.
So far this year there have been more than 1,400 cases of monkeypox and 63 deaths in four countries where the disease is endemic – Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo and Nigeria, according to the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genetic sequencing of the virus has not yet shown a direct link to the outbreak outside Africa.
The WHO said the sudden and unexpected detection of monkeypox in numerous countries “suggests that there may have been undetected transmission for an unknown period of time, followed by recent amplification events.” Last month, a senior adviser to the WHO said the outbreak was likely spread across Europe and beyond sex at two recent raves in Spain and Belgium.
The WHO assessed the risk to global health from monkeypox as “moderate” and said this was the first time so many cases and clusters had been reported worldwide. Until last month, the disease was not known to be causing major epidemics outside of central and west Africa, where it mainly affects people in rural areas who come into close contact with infected wildlife.
The ongoing outbreaks of monkeypox in Europe and elsewhere, including Canada, Australia, Israel and the United States USmarks the first time the disease has spread among people who have no previous travel links to Africa.
Britain’s Health Security Agency said last week that most cases were in gay or bisexual men aged 20 to 49 and that “research to date has found links to gay bars, saunas and the use of dating apps in the UK and abroad.” have ascertained”.
Most monkeypox patients experience only fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People with more severe illnesses can develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands, which can spread to other parts of the body.
Last week, WHO’s top expert on monkeypox, Dr. Rosamund Lewis, she doubts the disease would trigger one Pandemic However, these measures should be taken quickly to contain its spread so that it does not establish itself in new areas.
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