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Monkeypox epidemic in Russia impossible, sanitary watchdog’s expert says

According to the World Health Organization, in May, 131 confirmed cases of the infection have been registered outside of those countries, where monkeypox is endemic

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. The onset of a monkeypox pandemic in Russia is impossible since the country has a high-quality test system as well as some percentage of residents inoculated against smallpox, Viktor Maleyev, an advisor to the scientific director of the Central Research Institute of Epidemiology of the Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing said.

"Anyway, this epidemic is impossible in our country. Why is it impossible? Because we still have some category of inoculated elderly people, they exist. The second variant - if [those infected] arrive from abroad, then we have a test system," he said in an interview with the Russia-24 TV channel.

According to the expert, a good test system is one of the key points. "In our country, the Vector Institute developed it, it is being prepared. It can simultaneously detect both smallpox and monkeypox," he explained.

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that outside of those countries, where monkeypox is endemic, since the first report on May 7, 131 confirmed cases of the infection have been registered and another 106 cases are being verified.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease, usually transmitted to humans by wild animals (rodents, primates). The symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and back pains, enlarged lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. It may also involve skin rash. According to the WHO, usually the lethality coefficient during monkeypox outbreaks ranges from 1% to 10% with the majority of fatalities in the younger age groups.