The World Health Organization on Thursday reported a 77% weekly increase in the number of laboratory-confirmedCases, more than 6,000 worldwide, and two more deaths in parts of Africa, where the virus has been transmitted for years.
The highest number of cases were reported in Europe and Africa. The UN health agency said the mysterious outbreak mainly affected men who had sex with men, and other population groups showed no signs of continued transmission.
The WHO said it had counted 6,027 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox from 59 countries as of Monday – an increase of 2,614 cases since its last count for the week ended June 27. It said three people had now died in connection with the outbreak, all of them in Africa.
The agency said nine additional countries had reported cases, while 10 countries had reported no new cases for more than three weeks, which is the maximum incubation period.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday he was “concerned by the scale and spread of the virus,” noting that more than 80% of cases were reported in Europe. He said he would convene the next meeting of the WHO expert panel monitoring the outbreak after the week of July 18.
Most monkeypox patients experience fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People with more severe disease may have a rash and sores on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.
The disease is endemic in parts of Africa, where people have been infected by bites from rodents or small animals. The monkeypox virus usually does not spread easily to people.
Cases began to emerge in Europe and the United States in May. Many of those who contracted the virus had traveled internationally.