Nearly 200 cases of monkeypox have been reported in more than 20 countries not usually known to have outbreaks of the unusual virus, the World Health Organization confirmed during a Friday public briefing.
Specifically, the United Nations health agency described the epidemic as “containable” and proposed creating a stockpile to equitably share the limited vaccines and drugs available worldwide, The Associated Press reported.
Meanwhile, the agency noted that researchers have found no evidence that genetic changes in the virus are responsible for the unprecedented monkeypox outbreak outside of central and western Africa.
“The first sequencing of the virus shows that the strain is not different from the strains we can find in endemic countries and (this outbreak) is probably due more to a change in human behavior,” Dr. Sylvie Briand, WHO’s director of pandemic and epidemic diseases, said.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued recommendations to help minimize transmission of the virus, including avoiding the following:
- Close contact with sick people, including people with skin or genital lesions, and contact with materials used by sick people or animals such as clothing, bedding or health care materials.
- Contact with dead or live animals such as small mammals, including rodents like rats or squirrels, and nonhuman primates such as monkeys and apes.
- Eating or preparing wild game meat or using products that come from wild animals from Africa, such as creams, powders and lotions.
The CDC also advised travelers to wash their hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer and to keep their hands away from their faces, USA Today reported.
In addition, travelers who develop a new and unexplained rash (with or without chills and fever) are advised to avoid contact with other people, the newspaper reported.
By Thursday, monkeypox cases had been identified in the following countries, according to the CDC:
- Czech Republic
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.