The World Health Organization (WHO) says a recent outbreak of an extremely rare disease called monkeypox is “containable” in non-endemic countries,” even as health experts have been baffled by the recent spike in countries with no history of the viral disease.
The health organization said on Tuesday there were 131 confirmed cases and 106 suspected cases of the disease since the first was reported on May 7.
Speaking at the World Health Assembly in Geneva, WHO director for Global Infectious Hazard Preparedness Sylvie Briand said that the outbreak was “not normal,” but stressed that it was “containable.”
She said that it was unclear if the cases were the “tip of the iceberg” or if the peak in transmission has already passed.
The public health body said it is convening further meetings to support member states with more advice on how to tackle the situation.
Monkeypox is a viral disease that is endemic to Central and West Africa.
But the recent cases are reportedly located in 19 countries outside of Africa, including the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, Italy, Spain, and Portugal.
The virus spreads through close contact with people, animals, or material infected with the virus, with symptoms including rashes, fever, headaches, muscle ache, swelling, and back pain.
Briand further said that there are also vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox.
The West African strain of monkeypox has a mortality rate of around 1%.