What is monkeypox and why does the WHO care?

Since the beginning of May, cases have been detected in the UK, and in the following weeks Spain and Portugal have joined, especially among the gay community.

In Spain, a health alert was activated after 23 positive cases of what is also called monkeypox were detected.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox, like smallpox, belongs to the group of orthoxviruses. Despite their name, non-human primates are not reservoirs of monkeypox virus. Although the reservoir is unknown, the likely candidates are the small rodents that live in the tropical forests of Africa, especially in the western and central regions of that continent.

The disease appears sporadically in humans in Africa and sometimes causes epidemic outbreaks. Most of the reported cases occurred in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, To date, its appearance on the continents of Europe and America attracts alerts.

This disease, caused by the smallpox virus that is transmitted from animals to humans, is spread by contact with an infected person or their body fluids, including saliva. However, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), the virus does not spread “easily” between people, so the risk to the population is “low”.

It usually appears in Africa, has no treatment and heals on its own.

Monkeypox: What are its symptoms and how does it spread?

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