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The World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday that it doesn’t expect the international monkeypox outbreak to become a pandemic.
However, the WHO’s Dr. Rosamund Lewis acknowledged there are still many unknowns about the virus and its infection and transmission.
“At the moment, we are not concerned about a global pandemic,” she said during a live Q&A. “We are concerned that individuals may acquire this infection through high-risk exposure if they don’t have the information they need to protect themselves.”
While the majority of monkeypox cases have been seen in gay or bisexual men, Lewis warned that anyone is at potential risk for the disease.
US MONKEYPOX CASES CLIMB, ANOTHER REPORTED IN COLORADO
Monkeypox spreads when there is close contact with an infected individual, but it is not yet known whether it is being transmitted now exclusively by sex.
Lewis said it also remains unclear if people could spread monkeypox without symptoms or if the disease might be airborne.
In addition, traditionally, monkeypox virus is spread by touching or getting bitten by infected wild animals in western and central Africa.
Scientists have not yet determined whether these outbreaks can be traced to Africa.
WHO: NEARLY 200 CASES OF MONKEYPOX VIRUS ACROSS MORE THAN 20 COUNTRIES
Last week, the agency said 23 countries have reported more than 250 cases so far, and the U.K. announced an outbreak of 71 additional cases on Monday.
A top adviser to the WHO previously claimed that current cases were likely linked to sex at two raves in Spain and Belgium.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows there are now 15 confirmed cases across America.
Florida and California mark the states with the most – three each – cases, and Colorado, New York and Utah have each reported two.
No deaths have been reported thus far and the majority of patients recover without requiring hospitalization.
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Monkeypox, which is related to smallpox, has milder symptoms.
Some of those symptoms include fever, chills, rash and aches, before lesions develop.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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