Sub-Saharan Africa
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Mpox Strain With Pandemic Potential Reportedly Discovered in DR Congo

© AP Photo / Jeenah MoonVials of single doses of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox are seen from a cooler at a vaccinations site
Vials of single doses of the Jynneos vaccine for monkeypox are seen from a cooler at a vaccinations site  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 17.04.2024
Mpox used to be called monkeypox but was renamed last year as the old name seemed "racist and stigmatizing," according to the World Health Organization. The virus was named after its discovery in a colony of laboratory monkeys in 1958.
Canadian researchers claim to have discovered a dangerous new strain of mpox with "pandemic potential" in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, the British media reported.
The article by the Canadian researchers is a preprint that has not yet been peer-reviewed and is still being studied by global experts, the edition noted.

There are two genetic clades of the mpox virus: clade I and clade II. The deadly clade I form of the virus kills up to 10% of those infected, according to the publication.

Now, a mutated strain of the clade I virus has been discovered in Kamituga (South Kivu province in the east of the country), a highly mobile population center composed mainly of gold prospectors. The new strain has been identified by researchers as "clade Ib." This type of virus appears to spread more easily between people, mainly through sexual contact, and has mutations that are not detected by some existing tests.
"Without intervention, this localized Kamituga outbreak harbors the potential to spread nationally and internationally," said the authors, who tracked 241 suspected and 108 confirmed cases of the new strain.
An employee is pictured at the quality control laboratory - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 15.01.2024
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Mpox caused a global epidemic in 2022, spreading to more than 100 countries and primarily affecting homosexual and bisexual men. Waves of infections have appeared in countries that have never experienced the virus, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Sweden, and Belgium.
The United States, Brazil, Spain, France, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, and the United Kingdom reported the most cases during the global outbreak.
In March of this year, authorities in the DRC's neighboring Republic of the Congo documented the first cases of mpox infection in their country.
The first cases of human infection were reported in the DR Congo in 1970.