With cases of monkeypox growing to nearly 200 in more than 20 countries, the World Health Organization said there are still many unanswered questions about what caused the outbreak outside of Central and West Africa.

“The first sequencing of the virus shows that the strain is not different from the strains we can find in endemic countries," Dr. Sylvie Briand, WHO director of pandemic and epidemic diseases, said Friday. "(This outbreak) is probably due more to a change in human behavior.”

Some of the recent cases of monkeypox, which is typically contracted through animals, may likely be linked to sex at two recent raves in Spain and Belgium, a WHO official said earlier this week.

U.S., U.K., and European health officials have said that the majority of monkeypox cases are occurring in gay or bisexual men, with the virus spreading through sex in most instances. Experts warn that monkeypox can be contracted regardless of sexual orientation, maintaining that it is not a sexually transmitted disease, CNBC reported.

Briand said the global outbreak appears to be “containable,” based on how it has been previously managed in Africa, the Associated Press reported.

However, she said, the organization does expect to see more cases in the future, adding, “we don’t know if we are just seeing the peak of the iceberg (or) if there are many more cases that are undetected in communities.”

The WHO also estimates that smallpox vaccines are about 85% effective against monkeypox, but Dr. Rosamund Lewis, head of the organization’s smallpox department, said, according to the AP, “there is no need for mass vaccination.”

She explained that monkeypox does not spread easily, as it requires skin-to-skin contact for transmission, with control of the virus being maintained by isolating contacts and through continued epidemiological investigations.

Patients with monkeypox infections may experience symptoms such as fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue, followed by a rash and lesions on the face, hands, and feet that may spread to the rest of the body.

Most people recover from monkeypox in a few weeks. No deaths from the virus have been reported to date.

The WHO said its current count of nearly 200 cases of the viral disease is likely an undercount, as reported by the AP.

Test tube labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" is seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022.
Test tube labelled "Monkeypox virus positive" is seen in this illustration taken May 22, 2022. Reuters / DADO RUVIC