92 Cases Confirmed in 12 Countries
While no deaths have been reported, about 28 cases in these countries are potential cases. Investigations are going on to confirm them, the global health agency said.
“As of May 21, 92 laboratory-confirmed cases, and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox with investigations ongoing, have been reported to WHO from 12 Member States that are not endemic for monkeypox virus, across three WHO regions,” the WHO said in a statement.
Monkeypox: Facts & Figures
“No associated deaths have been reported to date. The situation is evolving, and WHO expects more cases of monkeypox will be identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries,” the agency said.
The WHO said that identifying confirmed and suspected monkeypox cases with no direct travel links to an endemic area “represents a highly unusual event”.
Surveillance in non-endemic areas has been limited but is now expanding, and the WHO expects that more cases in non-endemic areas will be reported”.
Available information suggests that human-to-human transmission occurs among people in close physical contact with cases who are symptomatic.
But the “cases have mainly but not exclusively been identified amongst men who have sex with men (MSM)”.
To curb the spread, it stressed the need for “immediate actions focus on informing those who may be most at risk for monkeypox infection with accurate information”.
The UN health body stated that currently available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic.
This is in regard with the UK and Spain, which has seen cases associated with gay and bisexual men, prompting health authorities to urge gay and bisexual men to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and contact a sexual health service without delay.
The WHO said it is also working to guide to protect frontline health care providers and other health workers who may be at risk, such as cleaners.
Further, all cases whose samples were confirmed by PCR have been identified as being infected with the West African strain.
Genome sequence from a swab sample from a confirmed case in Portugal indicated a close match of the monkeypox virus, causing the current outbreak, to exported cases from Nigeria to the United Kingdom, Israel, and Singapore in 2018 and 2019.