New Variant of Monkeypox Raises Pandemic Concerns

Written by Camilla Jessen

Apr.18 - 2024 11:56 AM CET

A newly identified strain of mpox with a concerning fatality rate has been discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Trending Now

Scientists have identified a new strain of monkeypox, known as mpox, in Kamituga, a small mining town in the Democratic Republic of Congo - just 170 miles from the Rwandan border.

This variant, which experts fear could spark a pandemic, is causing global concern with a reported fatality rate of around 10%.

The mutation, named "clade 1b," was discovered at a time when authorities have been battling a deadly variant in the region.

The virus appears to be better at spreading between people, predominantly via sexual contact, and has mutations that evade detection by some existing tests.

Following this discovery, experts are urging immediate international action to mitigate the risk of a wider outbreak. "This situation requires swift and decisive action to prevent a potential global health emergency," stated a team of leading researchers.

Transmission and Impact

According to reports from the Africa Centers for Disease Control and media outlets such as The Telegraph and The Mirror, the new variant is believed to have been originally transmitted from animals to humans between July and September of last year.

“We’re seeing evolutionary changes within the virus that’s suggestive of increased human transmission… and we’re seeing the changing demographics in this one specific region of Congo,” said Dr Jason Kindrachuk, an associate professor in infectious disease at the University of Manitoba in Canada and co-author of the paper.

About 30% of the cases in Kamituga have been detected among sex workers.

This new strain appears more severe compared to the less deadly form of mpox that triggered a worldwide epidemic in 2022, which resulted in 58 deaths in the United States alone.

The virus typically causes a mild illness characterized by fever and rash but can occasionally lead to serious complications.

Most Read