About 200 confirmed cases and more than 100 suspected cases of monkey pox have been identified so far outside the countries where it usually spreads, a World Health Organization official said today, calling on countries to be vigilant about the infectious disease.
Monkey pox, a mild viral infection, is endemic to the African countries of Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.
The recent outbreak in non-endemic countries has raised concerns. Worldwide, the strain is believed to have a mortality rate of about 1%, although effective vaccines and treatments are available.
Speaking during an online briefing, WHO senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerchove noted that cases have been identified in more than 20 non-endemic countries so far, adding that the agency expects the numbers to increase.
“We expect more cases to be identified. We are asking countries for increased monitoring … This is a situation that can be reduced. It will be difficult, but it is a situation that can be limited to non-endemic countries,” he said.