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WHO says that monkeypox cases top 70,000
Monkeypox is an infectious viral disease that can occur in both humans and some other animals. Symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash that forms blisters and then crusts over. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms ranges from 5-to-21 days. The duration of symptoms is typically 2 to 4 weeks - Photo: Twitter

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Wednesday (Oct 12), case numbers in the global monkeypox outbreak have now topped 70,000 with 26 deaths. It warned that declining new cases did not mean people should drop their guard. 

According to the WHO, global cases of monkeypox are continuing to decline, but 21 countries in the past week reported an increase in cases – mostly in the Americas, which accounted for almost 90 percent of all cases reported last week.

"We caution that a declining outbreak can be the most dangerous outbreak, because it can tempt us to think that the crisis is over, and to let down our guard," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a media briefing on Wednesday (Oct 12). "That's not what WHO is doing."

"Like COVID-19, monkeypox remains a public health emergency of international concern, and WHO will continue to treat it as such," he added.

An image created during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from 1996 to 1997, shows the hands of a patient with a rash due to monkeypox. (CDC Handout via REUTERS)

According to the WHO, monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease that occurs primarily in tropical rainforest areas of central and west Africa and is occasionally exported to other regions.

Patient with new strain of monkeypox hospitalized in U.K.

It is usually a self-limited disease with the symptoms lasting from 2 to 4 weeks. Severe cases can occur. In recent times, the case fatality ratio has been around 3–6%, it said.

Monkeypox is transmitted to humans through close contact with an infected person or animal, or with material contaminated with the virus, it mentioned.

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