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WATCH | WHO experts explain what they know so far about monkeypox

The World Health Organisation held a live Q&A session in which it answered questions about the monkeypox cases spreading in some European countries.

24 May 2022 - 11:54 By TimesLIVE Video

The World Health Organisation has been fielding questions about the monkeypox cases identified in several European countries and in the Americas.

While the disease has been in existence for many years, the cases that have been reported are from countries where the virus is not endemic, causing some concern. 

“The situation is evolving and WHO expects there will be more cases of monkeypox identified as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries. Immediate actions focus on informing those who may be most at risk for monkeypox infection with accurate information, in order to stop further spread,” the WHO said in a statement on Saturday. 

“Current available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic.”

During Monday’s Q&A, Dr Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat at the WHO, said monkeypox “is not a new disease”.

“It has been described for at least 40 years and it’s been well studied in the African region. We’ve seen a few cases in Europe over the last five years just in travellers. But this is the first time we’re seeing cases across many countries at the same time,” she said.

The WHO’s Dr Maria van Kerkhove, and infectious disease epidemiologist, said it was important to put the disease in context since it is “not Covid-19”. 

“We’re talking about less than 200 cases of confirmed and suspected cases so far. That may change over time,” she said. 


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