CEPI chief outlines the disease differences

CEPI chief outlines the disease differences

Health officer uses a thermal head to detect a monkeypox virus on arriving passengers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang near Jakart

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Health officer uses a thermal head to detect a monkeypox virus on arriving passengers at Soekarno-Hatta International Airport in Tangerang near Jakarta, Indonesia on May 15, 2019.

Jepayona Delita | Future Publishing | Getty Images

The sudden emergence of monkeypox in several countries around the world represents a concerning outbreak, the head of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations told CNBC on Thursday, but the virus does not represent the same kind of global threat as Covid-19.

His comments come as international health authorities investigate the atypical spread of monkeypox, a rare viral disease typically confined to remote parts of Central and West Africa.

“This is the first time that we have gathered again in Davos since the 2020 meeting and we find ourselves facing another dangerous disease threat,” CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“We should understand what that signifies, which is the world is beginning to move around again and infectious disease is beginning to move around with us,” Hatchett said.

“This is a concerning epidemic. Monkeypox is a very different disease than Covid,” he continued. “It does not spread through respiratory transmission in the same way, so it does not present the kind of global threat that many of us immediately recognized that Covid presented. But it does exemplify the risk that infectious diseases present in the modern world.”

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox cases can occasionally be more severe, with some deaths having been reported in West Africa. However, health authorities stress that we are not on the brink of a serious outbreak and the risks to the general public remain very low.

The World Health Organization has said the virus can be contained with the right response in countries outside of Africa where it is not usually detected.

The U.S., Australia and Germany have confirmed their first cases of monkeypox in recent days.

As of Wednesday, a total of 118 monkeypox cases had been reported across 12 countries in the European Union and the European Economic Area, according to the European Centre for Disease and Prevention Control.

In the U.K., seven additional cases of monkeypox were detected in England on Wednesday, with one case identified in Scotland. It means the total number of identified cases in the U.K. now stands at 78.

In comparison, the U.N. described the coronavirus pandemic as the biggest international challenge since World War II. To date, more than 527 million cases have been reported globally, with over 6.28 million deaths.

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