Geneva, May 19 (EFE).- Several monkeypox cases that were first detected in the United Kingdom and later in other European countries and the United States are linked to a West African variant, the World Health Organization said Thursday.
In a follow-up report on the evolving situation in the UK, WHO said that the West African variant has a case fatality ratio of around 1%, whereas for the Congo Basin clade could be as high as 10%.
The Geneva-based organization warned that the disease, which is transmitted through exhaled droplets or direct contact with contaminated skin or objects, poses an added risk for children and pregnant women, who can transmit the disease to the fetus.
WHO added that the conventional smallpox vaccine was quite effective against the disease, but since the illness was eradicated 40 years ago and immunization campaigns ended shortly after, younger generations do not enjoy protection against smallpox.
The health agency urged anyone with compatible symptoms who gets ill after returning from a monkeypox-endemic area should notify medical services immediately.
Residents and travelers visiting at-risk areas should avoid contact with dead and sick animals, especially rodents (which are considered the main mediums of transmission of the disease), marsupials or primates, WHO added.
Experts also advised against eating game or wild animal meat in affected areas.
The first confirmed case in the UK was admitted to hospital on May 6, the disease was diagnosed on May 12, and three days later WHO was alerted over the presence of several cases in the country.
No source of infection has been confirmed yet.
The incubation period of monkeypox is usually from 6 to 13 days but can range from 5 to 21 days.
The disease is often self-limiting with symptoms usually resolving spontaneously within 14 to 21 days.
Symptoms can be mild or severe, and lesions can be very itchy or painful.EFE