780 cases of monkeypox reported or identified as of June 2, says WHO

United Nations/ Geneva: A total of 780 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported or identified since May 13 and as of June 2 from 27 countries across four WHO regions that are not endemic for the monkeypox virus, the World Health Organisation has said.

The UN's health agency said that while epidemiological investigations are ongoing, most reported cases so far have been presented through sexual health or other health services in primary or secondary health care facilities and have involved mainly, but not exclusively, men who have sex with men (MSM).

While the West African clade of the virus has been identified from samples of cases so far, most confirmed cases with travel history reported travel to countries in Europe and North America, rather than West or Central Africa where the monkeypox virus is endemic.

The confirmation of monkeypox in persons who have not travelled to an endemic area is atypical, and even one case of monkeypox in a non-endemic country is considered an outbreak. While most cases are not associated with travel from endemic areas, Member States are also reporting small numbers of cases in travellers from Nigeria, as has been observed before, it said on Sunday.

Monkeypox endemic countries are Cameroon, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana (identified in animals only), Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, the Republic of the Congo, and Sierra Leone. Benin and South Sudan have documented importations in the past.

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