Posted: 06.05.2024 10:34:00

New form of mpox discovered in Congo’s largest outbreak

Congo is trying to contain the largest outbreak of mpox while scientists claim that a new form of the disease discovered in a mining town can spread more easily among people, The Associated Press reports


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 4,500 suspected mpox cases and almost 300 deaths have been reported in Congo since January – about three times more than in the same period last year. Recently, a health emergency has been declared across the country due to the outbreak.

“An analysis of data on patients hospitalised between October and January in Kamituga suggests that recent genetic mutations in mpox are the result of ongoing human transmission of the virus. This is happening in a city where people have almost no contact with wild animals, which are believed to naturally carry the disease,” the publication reads.

Dr. Placide Mbala-Kingebeni, the lead researcher of the study, said that the lesions reported by most patients are milder and localised on the genitals, making it difficult to diagnose the disease. During previous outbreaks in Africa, lesions were mainly seen on the chest, hands and feet. He also said that the new form appears to have a lower mortality rate. In a report on the global smallpox situation released last week, the WHO said that a new version of the disease may require a new testing strategy to detect mutations.