The World Health Organization warned Wednesday that monkeypox is spreading largely undetected as the organization tallied more than 550 cases of the virus across 30 different countries, CNBC reported.
During a news conference in Geneva, Switzerland, Dr. Rosamund Lewis, the WHO's monkeypox technical lead, said that the affliction could have spread for months or years undetected.
"We don't really know whether it's too late to contain. What WHO and all member states are trying to do is prevent onward spread," the virus expert said, adding that investigations into the matter are ongoing.
Lewis further remarked that the WHO has been monitoring monkeypox in Africa for over 50 years, with deaths from the virus reported annually.
This year alone, more than 70 deaths from monkeypox have been reported across five African countries, she said.
"Collective immunity in the human population since that time is not what it was at the time of smallpox eradication," Lewis stated regarding a substantial drop in utilizing smallpox vaccines since 1980 when the WHO declared the disease eradicated.
"Anyone under the age of 40 or 50, depending on which country you were born in or where you might have received your vaccine against smallpox, would not now have that protection from that particular vaccine."
The expert assured that the WHO was not endorsing a global vaccination campaign and reiterated evidence that monkeypox is primarily spreading within communities made up of homosexual men.
"The WHO is not recommending mass vaccination. There is no need for mass vaccination," Lewis declared.
The most significant monkeypox outbreaks outside Africa are located primarily in Europe, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently tracking 18 confirmed cases of the virus within the U.S., according to ABC's WSB-TV 2.
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