Monkeypox warning: Virus outbreak increasing within communities warns WHO amid case spike

Russia TV makes 'link' between monkeypox and Ukraine support

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The WHO on Wednesday confirmed more than 550 monkeypox cases across 30 countries as the virus continues to spread across the globe. Monkeypox presents with fever, an extensive characteristic rash and usually swollen lymph nodes.

It is important to distinguish monkeypox from other illnesses such as chickenpox, measles, bacterial skin infections, scabies, syphilis and medication-associated allergies.

As climate change contributes to rapidly changing weather conditions like drought, animals and humans are changing their food-seeking behaviour.

As a result, diseases that typically circulate in animals are increasingly jumping into humans, he said.

He added: “Unfortunately, that ability to amplify that disease and move it on within our communities is increasing – so both disease emergence and disease amplification factors have increased.”

The incubation period of monkeypox can range from 5 to 21 days.

The febrile stage of illness usually lasts one to three days with symptoms including fever, intense headache, lymphadenopathy (swelling of the lymph nodes), back pain, myalgia (muscle ache), and an intense asthenia (lack of energy).

The febrile stage is followed by the skin eruption stage, lasting for two to four weeks.

Lesions evolve from macules (lesions with a flat base) to papules (raised firm painful lesions) to vesicles (filled with clear fluid) to pustules (filled with pus), followed by scabs or crusts.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the sudden appearance of monkeypox in multiple countries across the world indicates the virus has been spreading undetected for some time outside the West and Central African nations where it is usually found.

The virus may have been transmitted for months or years undetected though investigations are ongoing and there are clear no answers yet, according to Dr Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s monkeypox technical lead.

Dr Lewis said during a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday: “We don’t really know whether it’s too late to contain. What WHO and all member states are trying to do is prevent onward spread.”

Contact tracing and isolating patients who have monkeypox are crucial to stopping the spread, she said.

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However, the WHO has been monitoring monkeypox in Africa for five decades and deaths are reported on the continent every year, Lewis said.

More than 70 deaths from monkeypox have been reported across five African countries in 2022, she said.

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