GENEVA, May 24 (KUNA) -- There are 250 confirmed cases of monkeypox reported in 16 countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Tuesday.
Speaking to the press, Dr. Rosamund Lewis -- head of the smallpox team, which is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme -- said, "What we know from this virus and these modes of transmission, this outbreak can still be contained; it is the objective of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Member States to contain this outbreak and to stop it".
She added, "The risk to the general public therefore appears to be low, because we know that the main modes of transmission have been as described in the past."
"We don't yet have the information as to whether this would be transmitted through body fluids," Dr. Lewis, adding that Monkeypox "Can affect anyone and (it) is not associated with any particular group of people."
"Most of animals that are susceptible to Monkeypox are in fact rodents, Gambian giant pouched rats, dormice, prairie dogs; those are the types of animals from which there may be spillover - a zoonotic spillover - from animals into people who may be going into the forest, or who may be coming in contact with the virus from a zoonotic route."
According to the WHO, smallpox vaccination provided protection against Monkeypox in the past, "people younger than 40 to 50 years of age today, may be more susceptible to Monkeypox infection as smallpox vaccination campaigns ended globally after the disease was eradicated in 1980."
WHO added that Monkeypox symptoms could be "very similar to those experienced by smallpox patients, although they are less clinically severe, albeit visually dramatic, with raised pustules and fever in the most severe cases that can last from two to four weeks."
"This Monkeypox outbreak has been transmitted primarily by close skin-to-skin contact, although the virus can also be passed by breath droplets and contaminated bedding," said WHO. (end)