The number of confirmed cases of monkeypox worldwide has reached 219 outside the countries where it is endemic, according to an update published by the European Union Agency for Diseases.
More than a dozen countries where monkeypox is uncommon, mostly in Europe, have reported at least one confirmed case, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said in an epidemiological note released Wednesday night.
“This is the first time that transmission chains have been reported in Europe without known epidemiological links with West or Central Africa, where the disease is endemic,” the note said.
He added that most cases are found in young people who identify themselves as men who have sex with men.
The United Kingdom, where an unusual species of monkeypox was first discovered in early May, now has the highest number of confirmed cases, 71.
It is followed by Spain with 51 cases and Portugal with 37.
Outside of Europe, there are 15 in Canada and nine in the United States.
The total number of cases registered on Wednesday has increased fivefold since the first count on May 20, when the EU agency said there were 38 cases.
The risk of infection is “very low,” the ECDC said earlier this week, but warned that people who had several sexual partners—Regardless of sexual orientation, they are more at risk.
“The clinical manifestation is usually described as mild,” the statement said, adding that there were no deaths.
Smallpox monkeys – a less severe disease compared to smallpox relative – is endemic in 11 countries in West and Central Africa.
It is spread through a bite or direct contact with the blood, meat or body fluids of an infected animal, and the initial symptoms include fever before quickly turning into a rash.
People infected with it also have a rash similar to chickenpox on their hands and face.
There is no cure, but symptoms usually go away in two to four weeks, and it’s usually not fatal.
Maria Van Kerchowe, head of the World Health Organization on new diseases, said on Monday that monkeypox was a “contained situation”.
© 2022 AFP
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