GENEVA (dpa-AFX) – According to a United Nations expert, increasing pressure on ecosystems could lead to monkeypox infection in humans. Threatened habitats and climate change will alter the movement radius of animals and encourage the virus to spread to humans, Mike Ryan of the World Health Organization said in Geneva on Thursday. “We don’t know if it’s too late to contain it completely,” WHO smallpox expert Rosamund Lewis said of the virus. However, she was optimistic that this spread could be combated with conventional hygiene measures.

According to the United Nations, more than 550 cases of monkeypox have been detected in 30 barely affected countries in the past few weeks. The figures do not include current infections in several African countries where the viral disease has recurred in the past.

“We’re dealing with a pretty unstable interface between animals and humans,” Ryan said at a press conference. Increases may also be observed in other diseases of animal origin – such as Lassa fever or Ebola. Various rodents and monkeys are known to carry monkeypox virus. However, it appears that the new infections, which are mainly reported from Western countries, have been transmitted from person to person.

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