United Nations (Geneva):
A total of 780 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox were reported or identified from May 13 through June 2, from 27 countries across four WHO regions not endemic to monkeypox virus, the World Health Organization said.
The UN health agency said that while epidemiological investigations are still underway, most cases reported to date have been provided by sexual health services or other health services in primary or secondary health care facilities, and have included mainly, but not exclusively, Men who have sex with men (MSM).
While the type of virus has been identified in West Africa from case samples to date, most confirmed cases with a travel history have reported travel to countries in Europe and North America, rather than West or Central Africa where monkeypox virus is endemic.
“Confirmation of monkeypox in people who have not traveled to an endemic area is unusual, and even a single case of monkeypox in a non-endemic country is considered an outbreak. While most cases are not associated with travel from endemic areas, Member States have also reported small numbers of Cases of travelers from Nigeria as noted before.”
Countries where monkeypox is endemic are Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of the Congo and Sierra Leone. Benin and South Sudan have documented imports in the past. The World Health Organization said the countries currently reporting cases in West Africa are Cameroon and Nigeria.
The sudden and unexpected appearance of monkeypox simultaneously in several non-endemic countries suggests that there may have been an undetected transmission of an unknown time period followed by recent blaster events.
The WHO assesses the global risk as moderate bearing in mind that this is the first time that many cases and groups of monkeypox have been reported simultaneously in non-endemic countries and in widely divergent geographic regions of WHO.
The World Health Organization said it continues to receive updates on the situation in endemic countries. As of 2 June, 780 laboratory-confirmed cases were notified to WHO under the International Health Regulations (IHR) or identified by WHO from official public sources in 27 non-endemic countries in four WHO regions. This represents an increase of 523 laboratory-confirmed cases (+203%) since news of the outbreak on May 29, when a total of 257 cases were reported.
As of June 2, there have been no deaths associated with the current outbreak of monkeypox in non-endemic countries, however, cases and deaths from endemic countries are still reported.
While investigations are underway, preliminary data from polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assays indicate that the monkeypox virus strains detected in Europe and other non-endemic areas belong to the West African clade.
The majority of cases were reported from the WHO European Region (20 countries). Confirmed cases have also been reported from the Americas region, the Eastern Mediterranean Region and the Western Pacific region.
In addition to cases reported or identified in non-endemic countries, WHO continues to receive updates on the status of ongoing monkeypox outbreaks in endemic countries in the African region through established surveillance mechanisms (integrated disease surveillance and response). From January to June 1, 2022, 1,408 suspected cases and 44 confirmed cases including 66 deaths were reported from seven endemic countries.
The World Health Organization said it continues to support the sharing of information about the outbreak of monkeypox. Clinical response and public health incidents have been activated in WHO and in several Member States to coordinate overall case outcomes, contact tracing, laboratory investigation, clinical management, isolation, and implementation of infection prevention and control measures.
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