Monkeypox Virus Spreads Across Europe

The UK, Spain, and Portugal report monkeypox cases, raising the specter of a wider outbreak – STAT

Portuguese health authorities confirmed five cases of monkeypox in young men this month and are investigating 15 suspected cases.

British health authorities said Wednesday they had identified two new cases of monkeypox, one in London and one in southeast England. The cases had no known links to other previously confirmed patients, suggesting there may be multiple chains of monkeypox transmission already happening in the country. Of their three earlier cases of monkeypox, two involved people who lived in the same household and the third someone who had traveled to Nigeria, where the disease frequently occurs in animals.

Health authorities in Spain are assessing 23 possible cases of monkeypox.

Dr. Ibrahim Soce Fall, the assistant director-general for emergency response at the World Health Organization, said there are still many unknowns regarding how monkeypox spreads, even in countries where it is endemic. Most people recover within weeks, but the disease can be fatal for up to one in ten people.

British experts said it was soon to conclude that monkeypox had spread through sexual contact. Still, Keith Neal said the transmission might not have occurred through sexual activity but just “the close contact associated with sexual intercourse.”

So far, most of the confirmed cases in Portugal have been in young men who are gay or bi-sexual. Future leading to the theory of sexual contact transmission.

The disease belongs to a family of viruses that includes smallpox. Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the WHO said that the disease is fatal for up to one in ten people. Sporadic cases of monkeypox have been seen previously in countries including Britain and the U.S.. Still, nearly all have been in people who were likely infected during their travels in Africa.

The virus has typically spread to people from infected animals, although human-to-human transmission has been known to occur.

For more on this story please consider these sources:

  1. Spain, Portugal report monkeypox cases, raising specter of wider outbreak  STAT
  2. Portugal finds 5 monkeypox cases in men as outbreak spreads  The Associated Press
  3. Monkeypox: What we know about the smallpox-like virus spreading in the UK, Portugal and Spain  Euronews
  4. CDC expresses concern about possibility of undetected monkeypox spread in U.K.  STAT
  5. Dozens of suspected monkeypox cases detected in Spain, Portugal  TRT World
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