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No concern yet monkeypox will cause pandemic: WHO


No concern yet monkeypox will cause pandemic: WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday (May 30) it was not concerned for now that the spread of monkeypox beyond the African countries where it is typically found could spark a global pandemic.

Since Britain first reported a confirmed monkeypox case on May 7, nearly 400 suspected and confirmed cases have been reported to the World Health Organization in nearly two dozen countries far from the states where the virus is endemic.

The U.N. health agency has voiced concern at this "unusual situation", but reiterated Monday that there was no reason to panic over the virus, which spreads through close contact and usually does not cause severe disease.

Asked during an epidemiological briefing whether the virus, which is endemic in a range of west and central African nations, might provoke another pandemic, WHO's top monkeypox expert Rosamund Lewis acknowledged that "we don't know."

But "we don't think so," she said. "At the moment, we are not concerned of a global pandemic."

It was important, she said, to take rapid steps to rein in the spread of the virus.

"It is still possible to stop this outbreak before it gets larger," she told an online public forum.

"I don't think we should be scared collectively."

Monkeypox is related to smallpox, which killed millions around the world every year before it was eradicated in 1980.

But monkeypox is much less severe, and most people recover within three to four weeks.

The initial symptoms include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery chickenpox-like rash.

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