Cases of monkeypox in the UK have now topped more than 100 as there are a total of 106 infections reported, according to the latest government data available.
Dr. Sylvie Briand, WHO’s director of pandemic and epidemic diseases, told a public briefing on Friday: “We don’t know if we are just seeing the peak of the iceberg (or) if there are many more cases that are undetected in communities.”
Monkeypox starts as raised spots which turn into small blisters filled with fluid, eventually these blisters form scabs that later fall off, according to the NHS.
It is usually mild and most people recover within a few weeks without treatment.
The virus is spread through close contact.
The outbreak has been seen across Europe, the US, Israel, Australia and beyond.
WHO’s Briand said the current situation appeared “containable”, based on how past outbreaks of the disease in Africa have evolved.
"The first sequencing of the virus shows that the strain is not different from the strains we can find in endemic countries and (this outbreak) is probably due more to a change in human behaviour," she said.
High risk close contacts of confirmed monkeypox cases are being traced and advised to isolate for up to 21 days in the UK.
A smallpox vaccine is being offered in the UK to close contacts to reduce their risk of symptoms and severe illness.
There is no vaccine specifically developed for monkeypox but WHO said smallpox vaccines are about 85 per cent effective.
Dr. Rosamund Lewis, head of WHO’s smallpox department, said “there is no need for mass vaccination” because monkeypox typically requires skin-to-skin contact for transmission.