(Reuters) – The World Health Organization does not have evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated, a senior executive at the U.N. agency said on Monday, noting the infectious disease that is endemic in west and central Africa has tended not to change.
Rosamund Lewis, head of the smallpox secretariat which is part of the WHO Emergencies Programme, told a briefing that mutations are typically lower with this virus, although genome sequencing of cases will help inform understanding of the current outbreak.
The more than 100 suspected and confirmed cases in the recent outbreak in Europe and North America have not been severe, the WHO's emerging diseases and zoonoses lead and technical lead on COVID-19, Maria van Kerkhove, said.
“This is a containable situation,” she said.
The outbreaks are atypical, according to the WHO, as they are occurring in countries where the virus does not regularly circulate. Scientists are seeking to understand the origin of the cases and whether anything about the virus has changed.
(Reporting by Josephine Mason in London; editing by John Stonestreet and Ed Osmond)