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WHO asks countries to increase surveillance for monkeypox

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About 200 confirmed and more than 100 suspected cases of monkeypox have been detected so far outside of the countries where it usually spreads, a World Health Organization official said on Thursday, urging countries to increase surveillance for the infectious disease.

Monkeypox, a mild viral infection, is endemic in the African countries of Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Nigeria.

The recent outbreak in non-endemic countries has raised concerns. The strain circulating globally is thought to have a fatality rate of around 1 percent, although effective vaccines and treatments are available.

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Talking during an online briefing, WHO’s senior epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove said cases have so far been detected in more than 20 non-endemic countries, adding that the agency expected the numbers to go up.

“We expect more cases to be detected. We are asking countries to increase surveillance...This is a containable situation. It will be difficult, but it’s a containable situation in the non-endemic countries.”

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