It's a matter of time before the first monkeypox case is reported on the Chinese mainland, but it won't develop into a pandemic such as COVID-19, said Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist with the China center for disease control and prevention (CDC).
"The first cases would be most likely reported from men who have sexual relations with men, but due to its limited channels and speed of transmission as well as the mainly affected population, monkeypox will be far less prevalent than COVID-19," Wu wrote in a post on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo.
There's no proof yet that monkeypox can be transmitted via droplets, but aerosol transmission of the virus has been ruled out, according to Wu.
"It spreads from human to human mainly via close contact between persons or with objects that are contaminated by the virus. And 95 percent of the cases reported since the outbreak so far involved transmission of the disease via sexual activity," Wu observed.
Taiwan reported its first monkeypox case on June 24, and no case has been reported in Hong Kong or Macau yet.
The World Health Organization last Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak, which has affected nearly 17,000 people in more than 70 countries, as a global health emergency – the highest alarm it can sound.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle pain and back pain during the course of five days.
Rashes subsequently appear on the face, palms of hands and soles of the feet, followed by lesions, spots and finally scabs.
The fatality rate of monkeypox so far this year is 0.03 percent, with all five deaths in Africa.