The World Health Organization (WHO) has seemingly assured the public that there’s nothing to worry about the monkeypox outbreak causing another global health crisis amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, an official from the specialized agency maintained that it’s unlikely for the monkeypox outbreak outside Africa to lead to another pandemic, Reuters reported.
As of late, there are more than 300 suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox infection in multiple countries outside of Africa. Most of the cases were documented in Europe.
The monkeypox virus is known to cause a mostly mild illness that spreads through close contact. The disease is manifested through several symptoms, including skin rash, fever, and chills.
Rosamund Lewis, the technical lead for monkeypox from the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said they are not “concerned of a global pandemic” due to monkeypox at the moment.
She pointed out that it remains unclear if people infected with the virus who do not have symptoms can transmit the disease. She also acknowledged the warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about the LGBTQ community‘s higher risk for infection.
“It’s very important to describe this because it appears to be an increase in a mode of transmission that may have been under-recognized in the past,” Lewis was quoted by PBS as saying.
Although monkeypox is technically not a sexually transmitted disease, the virus can be passed through sexual intercourse, intimate contact, and shared beddings. The cases reported amid the outbreak were mostly of gay and bisexual men.
Lewis urged the LGBTQ community and those at risk to be careful, saying, “We are concerned that individuals may acquire this infection through high-risk exposure if they don’t have the information they need to protect themselves.”
Last week, the WHO also addressed the situation, claiming that there’s no need for mass monkeypox vaccinations because the spread of the disease was easy to contain with good hygiene and safe sexual practices.
Monkeypox is endemic in West and Central African countries, so cases reported outside them are considered unusual and rare.