United States: The new strain of mpox, which is also known as monkeypox, has been spreading swiftly. This strain has been considered to be deadly, severe, and fast-spreading, which has forced the health authorities to ring alarm bells,

While expressing the concerns related to the increasing cases, a lecturer at the University of Rwanda – John Claude Udahemuka, stated, “The new virus is undoubtedly the most dangerous of all the known strains of mpox.” The statement was shared by the health expert during a press briefing on June 25, as highlighted by reports by Business Insider.

Along with this, he also highlighted that the strain has been considered to be deadly as it results in miscarriages and blindness.

Mpox and global outbreaks!

According to the official data, earlier in 2022, a mpox strain – which was milder than the currently circulating strain – named clade llb was increasing across the world. During that time, as many as 32,000 people caught an infection, and around 58 lost their lives.

It is to be noted that 2022 was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organisation (WHO) because of the uncontrollable surge in cases and deaths.

For the very first time, the cases linked to the new virus – clade lb, were found in a remote region of the Democratic Republican of the Congo in the month of September. Since then, it has been spreading along the borders of Rwanda.

After witnessing the upsurge in the number of cases, experts have expressed fear that the new clade lb virus could lead to a global outbreak.

While addressing the matter, the director of the Global Health Network at Oxford University – Trudie Lang, said, “The pandemic question is difficult.” The statement was given during a press briefing.

She further added, “I think we need to be really vigilant now and move to try and contain this as quickly as possible in this region. There’s definitely the opportunity for this to get on an airplane.”

New mpox strain – an emerging matter of concern!

The most common ways of transmission of mpox are through close contact, especially through skin-to-skin contact. Some of the common symptoms experienced by the infected people are mainly flu-like, including a painful and itchy rash that develops into puss.

As per the health experts, the transmission abilities of the previous strains were limited

According to Land, the Clade I virus, which has been around in the DRC for a long time, usually spreads within families and households. On the other hand, the clade IIb virus, which spread worldwide, was mainly transmitted through sex, particularly affecting men who have sex with men.

Researchers found that this new virus initially spread through sexual transmission in the local sex work industry. However, it has also spread within households, from mothers to children, and there have been cases of it spreading between people outside of households and without sexual contact.

To this land, it was stated that the current situation is “incredibly worrying,” as the current strain has more opportunities to spread. The WHO has mentioned that certain outbreaks have resulted in the deaths of around 10 percent of the infected people.

‘It’s just the tip of an iceberg’: Researchers

The researchers have outlined that they are not sure about the total number of cases linked to mpox, which is why they have mentioned that it is not clear how deadly the new clade lb virus is.

The matter was addressed at multiple briefings, and one such, a research coordinator, Leandre Murhula Masirika, outlined that they have reported over 600 cases linked to the disease as of now.

She was quoted saying, “These are the severe cases that make it to hospital, so this will be the tip of the iceberg,” according to reports by Business Insider.

Besides this, the technical lead for mpox of the World Health Organisation – Rosamund Lewis, also stated that “There is a critical need to address the recent surge in mpox cases in Africa,” Reuters outlined.

Further, the researchers outlined that there is an urgent need to understand the virus better to ensure safety measures and vaccines against the infection.

Murhula Masirika mentioned, “We need to first carry out studies of serology and immunology in order to see what kind of vaccination we can propose.” He also outlined that, according to Business Insider, currently, the smallpox vaccine has been given to sex workers as well as healthcare workers to offer slight protection against the disease.

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