Further Monkeypox Cases Detected in Europe and North America
Thursday 19th, May 2022
Further cases have been detected of the rare monkeypox virus in the UK as well as in Spain and Portugal, this comes a day before cases of the monkeypox virus were detected in Canada.

Canada has been the latest country to report cases of the monkeypox virus which are being investigated, ther ehave been nine cases reported in the UK since the 6th of May and yesterday the 18th of May a single case was confirmed in the United States.

The US health authorities said a man in the eastern state of Massachusetts had tested positive for the virus after visiting Canada.

WHO infectious disease epidemiologist Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said they are concerned about the virus and stated there needs to be a greater focus on understanding transmission patterns.

She said "very little attention" has been paid to monkeypox as it is not something that is perceived as a global risk, but that the WHO considers it to be a "priority pathogen".

She said they are concerned about the spread to non-endemic areas who do not have the virus "on their radar" after a number of cases were reported in European countries and the US without travel links.

"So we are trying to expand our understanding of the circulation of this virus which typically is transmitted between people through contact, physical contact with lesions, with open sores,".

"And so we are working with a number of countries to identify who is infected and of course to prevent onward transmission and they receive the appropriate care,".

The first case in Britain was someone who had traveled from Nigeria, though later cases were possibly through community transmission, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement.

"These latest cases, together with reports of cases in countries across Europe, confirms our initial concerns that there could be spread of monkeypox within our communities," said UKHSA Chief Medical Adviser Dr Susan Hopkins.

The WHO said it was also investigating that many cases reported were people identifying as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men.

"We are seeing transmission among men having sex with men," said WHO Assistant Director-General Dr Soce Fall at a press conference earlier this week.

"This is new information we need to investigate properly to understand better the dynamic of local transmission in the UK and some other countries."

The UKHSA noted that monkeypox has not previously been characterised as a sexually transmitted disease, underscoring that "it can be passed on by direct contact during sex".

"Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can spread monkeypox through contact with body fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared items (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with fluids or sores of a person with monkeypox," a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statement said, adding that household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces.

The illness often starts with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle ache and swollen lymph nodes before causing a chickenpox-like rash on the face and body, the US agency explained.

According to the CDC, there were no reported cases of monkeypox for 40 years before it re-emerged in Nigeria in 2017.

The UK are considering of dusting off the smallpox vaccine to use for treating the monkeypox outbreak if it gets worse.


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