Europe vigilant over monkeypox

(VOVWORLD) - A number of European countries have recorded an unusual outbreak of monkeypox, a rare viral infection. Switzerland and Austria are the latest countries to have confirmed their first cases of monkeypox, bringing the total nations to 15. In recent weeks, infections have been reported in the UK, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, the US, and Canada.
Europe vigilant over monkeypox - ảnh 1The monkeypox virus (shown here in a coloured transmission electron micrograph) is closely related to the smallpox virus. (Photo credit: UK Health Security Agency/Science Photo Library)

In what Germany described as the largest outbreak in Europe ever, more than 100 monkeypox cases have been reported and spread to Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the UK, the US, Canada, and Australia.

Spain reported 24 new cases last Friday, mainly in the Madrid region where the regional government closed a sauna linked to the majority of infections.

In Britain after a series of new cases have continuously been confirmed, the UK Health Security Agency has administered smallpox vaccination to a number of health workers and people suspected of being exposed to monkeypox virus.

There is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but data shows that the vaccines used to eradicate smallpox are up to 85% effective against monkeypox, according to the WHO.

Monkeypox is caused by the monkeypox virus, part of the same family as smallpox, originally discovered in monkeys in Africa. The virus can be transmitted to humans from the wild animal and from person to person through close physical contact through lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, or material infected with the virus such as bedding. Monkeypox may also be transmitted by eating the undercooked meat of an infected animal.

Monkeypox is usually characterised by symptoms of chills, fever, aches, and a distinctive bumpy rash. In 1979, WHO declared smallpox eliminated globally but since 2017, Nigeria has had a large ongoing outbreak with about 3,000 cases each year. But scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like COVID-19, given the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2.