This 2003 electron microscope image, presented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows mature virions of oval smallpox, left and spherical immature virions, on the right, obtained from a human skin sample associated with the 2003 meadow dog outbreak.
Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner | CDC via AP
The World Health Organization has confirmed about 80 cases of monkeypox with recent outbreaks reported in 11 countries, the World Health Agency said in a statement on Friday.
According to the WHO, outbreaks are unusual because they occur in countries where the virus is not endemic. More cases are likely to be reported in the coming days as surveillance expands, the World Health Agency said.
“WHO is working with affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance, to find and support people who may be affected, and to provide advice on how to fight the disease,” the WHO said.
Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus from the same family as smallpox, but not as severe, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, according to the CDC, smallpox can kill 1 in 10 people infected with the disease.
Smallpox is transmitted through close contact with people, animals or materials infected with the virus. It enters the body through damaged skin, airways, eyes, nose and mouth. Although human-to-human transmission is also thought to occur through respiratory drops, this requires prolonged face-to-face contact because the drops cannot pass more than a few feet, according to the CDC.
“As monkeypox spreads through close contact, the response should focus on the victims and their close contacts,” the WHO said. According to the WHO, health workers, household members and sexual partners of people who have the virus are at greater risk of the disease.
The U.S. CDC confirmed a case of monkeypox in Massachusetts on Wednesday. The man recently traveled to Canada by private transport. New York is investigating a possible monkeypox case, the health department said in a statement Thursday.
According to the CDC, monkeypox usually begins with flu-like symptoms including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. Within 1-3 days after the onset of fever, patients develop a rash that begins on the face and spreads to other parts of the body. The disease usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks.
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