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What is monkeypox and how worried should we be?

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The monkeypox outbreak has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization.

According to the UK Health Security Agency, early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and chills, as well as other features such as exhaustion.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans, and requires close contact. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is thought that human-to-human transmission primarily occurs through large respiratory droplets.

Globally, there have so far been 16,016 monkeypox cases – 4,132 of which were in the past week, according to WHO data. It is now in 75 countries and territories and there have been five deaths.

The European region has the highest number of total cases, at 11,865, and the highest increase in the past seven days, with 2,705.

The west African strain of monkeypox is generally a mild infection for most people, but it is important those infected and their contacts are identified. The virus is more of a concern among vulnerable people such as those with weakened immune systems or who are pregnant.

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Source: The Guardian, 23 July 2022

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