U.S. health agency warns of monkeypox as global cases top 1,000

U.S. health agency warns of monkeypox as global cases top 1,000

Monkeypox (photo: not listed, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Raising the alert to level 2 asks people to avoid close contact with sick people (Photo: not listed, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), healthy The US raises the alert level for the spread of the epidemic to level 2 monkeypox, and urged people to take extra precautions as global cases of the virus topped 1,000. Last month, the disease spread to 29 non-endemic countries.

Raising the alert to level 2 urges people to avoid close contact with sick people, including people with skin or genital injuries, and sick or dead animals. It also urged people with symptoms of the virus, such as a rash, to avoid contact with others and to see a doctor for advice. The highest level (Level 3) will alert the public to non-essential travel.

As of Monday, 29 countries had reported 1,019 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The UK recorded the highest number with 302 suspected and confirmed infections. After him, Spain registered 198 cases, Portugal reported 153, and Canada had 80 confirmed or suspected cases, CNBC reported.

Health experts have been looking for clues about the origin of the outbreak, which has historically been linked to travel to endemic countries in Central and West Africa. Rosamund Lewis, head of monkeypox technology at the World Health Organization, said the virus could spread undetected for “weeks, months or possibly years” in non-endemic countries.

Two strains detected in US

Until recently, outbreaks were thought to originate from the West African strain, which produced milder disease than other variants, with a 1% mortality rate. However, the CDC said Friday that at least two genetically distinct variants of monkeypox are circulating in the United States, adding to the confusion among health experts. A total of 30 cases of the virus have been reported in the United States so far.

“Although they are similar, their genetic analysis shows that they are not linked,” said Jennifer McQuiston, associate director of the Division of Pathogens and High Consequence Pathology at the CDC, of ​​the two variants.

Professor Eyal Leshem, an infectious disease specialist at Israel’s Sheba Medical Center, told CNBC that the spread of the virus to non-endemic countries is not surprising given the frequency and ease of international travel, as well as increased interaction between humans and animals.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by a virus monkeypox, symptoms include rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, swelling, and back pain. It is endemic in Central and West African countries, but recent outbreaks in North America, Europe and Australia have confused health professionals and raised fears of a new epidemic, a possibility the WHO considers “unlikely” .

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