The World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Friday that the approximately 200 cases of monkeypox detected in recent weeks, in countries where the virus does not usually circulate, could be only "the peak of the iceberg”.

200 cases detected

"We don't know if we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg," said Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO's global infectious risk preparedness department, during a presentation to the organization's member states on the “unusual” spread of the virus, during the World Health Assembly in Geneva (Switzerland).

Experts are trying to determine what caused this "unusual situation," and preliminary results show no variation or mutation in the monkeypox virus, Briand said.

"We have a window of opportunity to stop the transmission now," she said.

"If we put the right measures in place now, we can probably contain this quickly."

The UK reported a first case on May 7.

Since then, some 200 cases have been detected in countries far removed from those where the virus is endemic.

According to the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), precisely 219 cases – but no deaths – had been reported as of Wednesday.

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