Monkeypox now in eight countries as WHO warns summer festivals could accelerate spread

Infections with the dreaded monkeypox have been found in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom, as well as in Australia, Canada and the United States

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Monkeypox: UK health agency is urging people to watch out for symptoms

Monkeypox infections have now spread to eight different countries in Europe, amid fears summer festivals could exacerbate cases.

The infection has so far been detected in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Outside of Europe, doctors have identified cases of the rare viral infection in Australia, Canada and the United States.

Due to the geographically dispersed nature of the cases, the World Health Organization is concerned that transmissions may have been common for some time.

Monkeypox is typically found primarily in central and western Africa, often near tropical rainforests, and is thought to be endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it was first discovered in the 1970s.

dr Hans Kluge said the situation could get worse in the summer months with parties and outdoor festivals.

The hands of a patient with a rash due to monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo



He warned: “As we enter the summer season of mass gatherings, festivals and parties in the European Region, I am concerned that transmissions could accelerate.

“The cases currently detected are among those engaging in sexual activity and the symptoms are unknown to many.

“Monkeypox is a rare viral infection that can be transmitted from person to person… to date, at least eight countries in the WHO European Region have reported cases in recent days.

“These recent cases are atypical for several reasons, first because in this case all but one of the recent cases have no relevant travel history to areas where monkeypox is endemic, in West Africa or Central Africa.

Monkeypox is transmitted through close contact such as sex



“Second, because most of the first cases found are discovered by sexual health services and involve men who have sex with men.

“And third, because of the geographically dispersed nature of the cases.”

According to the UK Health Agency, symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and chills.

Reassuringly, most of the cases currently being investigated in Europe have been mild so far, and most of those infected are expected to recover within a few weeks without treatment

A man shows skin lesions due to monkeypox



However, the disease can be more serious, particularly in young children, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems.

dr Kluge added, “Anyone concerned about an unusual skin rash should consult their doctor or healthcare provider.

“People suspected of having monkeypox should be screened and isolated from the first onset of symptoms.

“Spreading occurs primarily through close physical contact, including sexual contact, with someone who has monkeypox.”

“The detection and reporting of these cases shows that our surveillance systems are working and I would like to thank the affected countries for their quick action and transparent information sharing.

“It is crucial that this collaboration continues as the situation continues to evolve.”

It comes as the number of monkeypox cases in the UK has doubled in one day as fears of the disease spreading in communities grow.

Minister of Health Sajid Javid said the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) had confirmed 11 other cases of monkeypox in the UK, most of which were described as mild.

The new cases join the nine previously identified, with the first case returning from a trip to Nigeria.

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