Monkeypox outbreak: 80 cases confirmed in 12 Europe countries

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Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with monkeypox virus, which originates in wild animals like rodents and primates, and then spreads to people.

It’s usually a mild viral infection. The virus belongs to the same family as the smallpox (Orthopoxvirus genus in the family Poxviridae). This genus also includes variola virus (which causes smallpox), vaccinia virus (used in the smallpox vaccine), and cowpox virus.

A rare viral disease of monkeypox detected outside African have been reported in at least 12 non African countries in a few weeks ago. The World Health Organization announced.

They said there are about 80 confirmed cases as of Saturday (May 21, 2022), another 50 suspected cases of monkeypox are being investigated

Cases of monkeypox have been reported or are suspected in the following countries: Australia, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Netherlands, the UK and the US.

Monkeypox is most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa.

It is a rare viral infection which is usually mild and from which most people recover in a few weeks, according to the UK’s National Health Service.

The virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the wider public is said to be very low.

There is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but a smallpox jab offers 85% protection since the two viruses are quite similar.

So far, public health agencies in Europe have confirmed cases in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

On Friday, May 20, the World Health Organization said that the recent outbreaks “are atypical, as they are occurring in non-endemic countries”.

It said it was “working with the affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected”.

One possibility is that the virus has changed in some way, although currently there is little evidence to suggest this is a new variant.

Another explanation is that the virus has found itself in the right place at the right time to thrive.

Monkeypox may also spread more easily than it did in the past, when the smallpox vaccine was widely used.

WHO’s Europe regional director Hans Kluge warned that “as we enter the summer season… with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission could accelerate”.

He added that all but one of the recent cases had no relevant travel history to areas where monkeypox was endemic.

The first case of the disease in the UK was reported on 7 May. The patient had recently travelled to Nigeria, where they are believed to have caught the virus before travelling to England, the UK Health Security Agency said.

Source: BBC

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