Just when it seems that the world is reopening and returning to normal life, another fear of health people shook! Smallpox has become a trend on Twitter after reports of a rare outbreak in England, Portugal and Spain. According to NPR, the outbreak is relatively small, as only 36 suspected cases are spread in three countries. So far, reports show 8 cases in England and 20 in Portugal. However, there is one active case in the United States.

A case found in Massachusetts shows that an infected person recently traveled to countries where the disease occurs but visited Canada. According to the NPR, monkeypox is a disease with symptoms including fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes and eventually “smallpox” or painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, arms and feet. One version of monkeypox is deadly and kills up to 10% of infected people. Although the outbreak can be scary, the version in England is easy and the death rate is less than 1%. Cases are usually resolved within 2-4 weeks.

Individuals are more likely to catch smallpox from animals in West or Central Africa and import the virus to other countries. Human-to-human transmission is not standard because it requires close contact with bodily fluids. This includes saliva or pus from the lesions. Overall the risk to the general population is low, says the UK Health Agency.

Although health officials know little about where people picked up the virus, they have fears that it could spread through society unnoticed and possibly in a new way. Epidemiologist and chief medical adviser to the UK Health Agency Susan Hopkins said Monday: “This [outbreak] rare and unusual. Exactly where and how they are [people] the infections they acquired remain under urgent investigation. “

Unfortunately, this is not the first time the U.S. has contracted smallpox. In 2003, sending animals from Ghana to Illinois tested positive for the virus. It eventually spread to meadow dogs, which are sold as pets in several Midwestern states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Collaborators, we will keep you posted when more information becomes available.

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