WHO warns monkeypox outbreak can be just ‘the peak of the iceberg’

WHO warns monkeypox outbreak can be just ‘the peak of the iceberg’

Nearly 400 suspected and confirmed cases have been reported to the World Health Organization in nearly two dozen countries

Calling for strict action, the World Health Organization has warned that the monkeypox outbreak can be just ''the peak of the iceberg''.

WHO’s epidemic and pandemic preparedness and prevention chief Sylvie Briand has expressed concerns about monkeypox's growing number of cases worldwide.

“We don't know if we are just seeing the peak of the iceberg,” Briand said during a press briefing.

The UN agency has said that it is considering whether the outbreak should be assessed as a "potential public health emergency of international concern" or PHEIC.

Cases of monkeypox, a usually mild illness that spreads through close contact and can cause flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions, have spread all across Europe.

Nearly 400 suspected and confirmed cases have been reported to the World Health Organization in nearly two dozen countries far from the states where the virus is endemic since Britain first reported a confirmed monkeypox case on May 7.

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Asked whether this monkeypox outbreak has the potential to grow into a pandemic, Rosamund Lewis, technical lead for monkeypox from the WHO Health Emergencies Programme said: "We don't know but we don't think so."

"At the moment, we are not concerned about a global pandemic," she said.

"We really don't actually yet know whether there's asymptomatic transmission of monkeypox - the indications in the past have been that this is not a major feature - but this remains to be determined, she added.

Monkeypox is related to smallpox, which killed millions around the world every year before it was eradicated in 1980. But monkeypox is much less severe, and most people recover within three to four weeks.

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