As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage, another disease has scientists on high alert.
Monkeypox isn’t a new virus, but it’s rarely seen outside of Africa, so its sudden explosion around the world, including Australia, has scientists fearing it’s developing better ways to spread. .
On July 23, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, its highest alert, in a measure that is expected to mobilize more resources and put pressure on governments to step up containment efforts.
A few weeks earlier, on May 20, monkeypox arrived in Australia for the first time as two travelers returning from Europe were diagnosed. That cluster has since grown to more than 40 cases, but some 16,000 have been reported in total in more than 70 countries since early May, from Europe to North America and the Middle East.
Still, health officials point out that monkeypox travels slower than COVID, through close contact, meaning it doesn’t pose the same risk. The WHO has warned countries to quickly contain outbreaks before they take hold and summoned researchers from around the world to examine what is driving them.
Read the full explanation here.