WHO fears monkeypox outbreak in Europe this summer
Hans Kluge, Director of the WHO Regional Office for Europe – Photo: AFP
During the outbreak monkey pox In what Germany describes as the largest outbreak in Europe to date, more than 100 cases have been reported in at least nine countries including Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Japan, Sweden and the UK.
Spain reported 24 new cases on May 20, mainly in the Madrid region, where authorities shut down a sauna suspected of being an outbreak. In Belgium, the country’s first cases were in people who attended a large-scale 18+ festival earlier this month.
The number of infections could increase this summer as parties and festivals take place across the region, WHO regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, warned.
The majority of cases are in men who have sex with men and seek treatment at sexual health clinics, Kluge added, adding that this is a sign that the disease has been circulating for some time. time that no one knows.
Of the cases in Europe, only 1 had a history of travel to an area with monkeypox outbreaks. This is also the first European case recorded on May 7 of a British man who has just returned from Nigeria.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says recent cases in the country have mainly been in men who self-identify as gay, bisexual or men who have had sex with them.
UKHSA said monkeypox was not previously considered a sexually transmitted infection. Even so, illness can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions and fluids of an infected person as well as shared items such as bed linen and towels.
According to WHO, there is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but data show that vaccines used against smallpox are up to 85% effective against monkeypox.
British authorities say they have provided smallpox vaccine to some health workers and others who may have been exposed to monkeypox.
Since 1970, cases of monkeypox have been reported in 11 African countries. Nigeria is currently experiencing a major outbreak continuously since 2017, according to WHO.
Monkeypox is caused by a virus but is rarely fatal. The medical community believes that although it is contagious, the disease will not reach the level of a pandemic because the rate of transmission is not as fast as COVID-19.
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