According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it is too early to say whether the recent monkeypox outbreak, which has spread to 24 countries and has over 435 confirmed cases, will lead to a global pandemic.
According to CNBC, the global health organization noted that there is a “window” of opportunity to reduce rising cases.
The WHO says there are “still many unknowns” about the increase in cases in non-endemic countries outside of Africa.
The virus should not be confused with Covid-19, according to the report, and the risks to the general public remain low.
“We don’t want people to panic or be afraid and think that it’s like Covid or maybe worse,” Sylvie Briand, the WHO’s director of epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention, said during a briefing on the outbreak.
“This monkeypox disease is not Covid-19, it is a different virus,” she added.
While health experts are not clear about the genetic makeup of the virus, current data suggests that it doesn’t transmit or mutate as easily as other viruses like Covid-19, an RNA virus.
“At the moment, we are not concerned about a global pandemic,” WHO’s technical lead for monkeypox, Rosamund Lewis, was quoted as saying.
However, she expressed concern that rising individual cases could allow the virus to “exploit a niche” and spread more easily between people.
For the first time, the virus has manifested itself in gay and bisexual men.
Despite the fact that the virus is not classified as a sexually transmitted disease, Lewis warned men who have sex with other men to be cautious.
“Collectively, the world has an opportunity to stop this outbreak. There is a window,” Lewis said.