WHO meeting over monkeypox virus spread: report

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to hold a meeting on Friday to discuss recent global outbreaks of the monkeypox virus. 

The infections are more common to west and central Africa, but Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden Canada and the U.S. all reported cases over the past week. 

On Friday, France, Germany, Belgium and Australia reported their first infections. 

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In all, the organization wrote that monkeypox has been reported from 11 countries that normally don’t have the disease. 

“There are about 80 confirmed cases, and 50 pending investigations. More likely to be reported,” it said, noting that member states and other partners were working to understand more about the outbreak. 

According to Reuters, scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic, like COVID-19, due to how the virus is spread. 

In the U.K., health officials are exploring whether the disease is being sexually transmitted, as several cases were reportedly spread among gay and bisexual men in London. 

UK CONFIRMS MORE CASES OF MONKEYPOX

Monkeypox has not previously been documented to have spread through sex, but can be transmitted through contact with infected people or contaminated materials. 

The virus, which is from the same family of viruses as smallpox, enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose or mouth.  

Undated image shows hands of a patient with a rash due to the monkeypox virus, during an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1996 to 1997.

Undated image shows hands of a patient with a rash due to the monkeypox virus, during an outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, 1996 to 1997.
(CDC/Brian W.J. Mahy/Handout via Reuters)

It is usually spread by touching or getting bitten by infected wild animals in west and central Africa. 

While there are a number of measures that can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus – including avoiding contact with animals that could harbor the virus and any materials that have been in contact with a sick animal – there is currently no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. 

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 people who contract the disease.

To date, no one has died in the outbreak. 

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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