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North Korea reported an outbreak of an unidentified intestinal epidemic in a farming region on Thursday, putting further strain on the isolated country as it battles chronic food shortages and a wave of COVID-19 infections.

The World Health Organization is looking into reports that the monkeypox virus is present in the semen of patients, exploring the possibility that the disease could be sexually transmitted, a WHO official said on Wednesday.

There have been more than 1,000 monkeypox cases reported to the World Health Organization in the current outbreak outside the countries in Africa where it more commonly spreads.

COVID-19 cases in the Americas increased 10.4 percent last week from the previous one, but countries must also pay attention to a rise in other respiratory viruses in the region, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said on Wednesday.

Outbreaks of endemic diseases such as monkeypox and lassa fever are becoming more persistent and frequent, the World Health Organization’s emergencies director, Mike Ryan, warned on Wednesday.

It is not clear yet whether the spread of monkeypox can be contained completely, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, adding that the WHO’s goal was to contain the outbreak by stopping human-to-human transmission to the maximum extent possible.

Countries should take quick steps to contain the spread of monkeypox and share data about their vaccine stockpiles, a senior World Health Organization official said on Friday.

As cases and news of monkeypox spread globally, scientists are investigating the unprecedented outbreak. BioSpace compiled updates about tracking, origins and treatments concerning monkeypox.

The outbreak of monkeypox cases outside of Africa can be contained, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, as more governments said they would launch limited vaccinations to combat rising infections of the virus.

Moderna Inc. is testing potential vaccines against monkeypox in preclinical trials as the disease spreads in the United States and Europe.