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STORY: More than 100 cases were confirmed or suspected in Europe. Canada has confirmed two cases, and the virus has also been detected in the United States and Australia.
First identified in monkeys, Monkeypox is usually a mild viral illness, characterized by symptoms of fever as well as a distinctive bumpy rash.
The World Health Organization - which was due to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the recent outbreak - said the early cases were unusual for three reasons: all but one have no relevant travel history to areas where monkeypox is endemic; the wide geographic spread across Europe and beyond suggests that transmission may have been going on for some time; and most are being detected through sexual health services and among men who have sex with men.
But Tam cautioned against focusing on a particular group of individuals, since there are a variety of ways the virus can spread.
There isn't a specific vaccine for monkeypox, but vaccines that were used to eradicate smallpox are up to 85% effective against monkeypox, according to the WHO.
Scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like COVID-19, given the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2.