Monkeypox Image Credit: Shutterstock


  • Monkeypox is no longer confined only among travellers, or a specific group of people.
  •  The monkeypox virus is undergoing community transmission in more than 50 countries and spreading unchecked at a fast rate.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) admits they have been an under-reporting of cases, as not every suspected case is getting tested due to logistical challenges.

The WHO has reported a 77% weekly rise in the number of lab-confirmed monkeypox cases, to more than 6,000 worldwide.

The agency counted 6,027 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox from 59 countries as of Monday — an increase of 2,614 cases since its last count for the week that ended June 27.

Monkeypox electron microscope
A 2003 electron microscope image of monkeypox virus released by the CDC. Monkeypox causes fever, headache, body aches, swollen lymph nodes , and a rash. The rash begins as flat spots that turn into bumps, which then fill with fluid. The bumps crust and fall off as they heal. Some people develop spots that look like pimples or blisters before having any other symptoms.

What we know so far:

> Europe is the current epicentre of the outbreak, recording more than 80% of cases globally.

> Cases in Spain have reportedly crossed the 2,000 mark.

> Switzerland, which has 135 lab-confirmed monkeypox cases as of Thursday (July 7), has become the first country to upgrade monkeypox threat lever to the general population to “moderate” from “low”. The country’s health authorities assume additional cases of monkeypox in the country.

> The UN health agency said the mysterious outbreak continues to mainly affect men who have had sex with men, and that other population groups showed no signs of sustained transmission.

> France, The Netherlands and Spain, however, have recorded paediatric cases of monkeypox, including one aged 6 and another under the age of 10.

Under-reporting of cases

> Lab-confirmation of monkeypox using PCR remains a “challenge", according to WHO.

> The agency said it’s "highly probable" that there are a significant number of cases not being picked up.

> The global health body said two more deaths in parts of Africa where the virus has circulated for years, bringing to three the number of people who have now died in connection with the outbreak, all of them in Africa.

> The WHO said nine additional countries had reported cases, while 10 countries had not reported any new cases for more than three weeks, which is the maximum incubation period.

> WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday he remained "concerned by the scale and spread of the virus," noting that over 80% of the lab-confirmed cases turned up in Europe.

> A WHO expert panel monitoring the outbreak will meet next week, or no later than the week of July 18.

> Most monkeypox patients experience fever, body aches, chills and fatigue. People with more serious illness may develop a rash and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

> The disease is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have become infected through bites from rodents or small animals. 

> The monkeypox virus does not usually spread easily among people, and is thought to be transmitted through close contact, though there’s evidence cited by leading epidemiologists the virus can spread via airborne transmission.

Public health emergency declaration 

> On Thursday, the WHO said it plans to reassess whether the outbreak constitutes a public health emergency of international concern.

In late June, WHO's Emergency Committee determined that the outbreak did not meet the criteria for such a declaration

> Given the new data, Tedros wants the committee to take up the issue again

> The WHO Director General said Wednesday he will convene the committee during the week of July 18, or sooner if needed.

The WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, as "an extraordinary event" that constitutes a "public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease" and that may "potentially require a coordinated international response."

> Monekypox is endemic in Africa, but the latest spike in infections have been observed in Europe, North America, Latin America, Australia and other regions, with many of the individuals who contracted the virus having international travel history.

> Anyone with symptoms should consult a physician.

⦾ Fever
⦾ Headache
⦾ Muscle aches and backache
⦾ Swollen lymph nodes
⦾ Chills
⦾ Exhaustion
⦾ A rash that can look like pimples or blisters that appears on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, like the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.

[Source: CDC]