While the number of positive cases of monkeypox has increased in recent days, the WHO estimates that the trend is likely to continue this summer.
Cases of monkeypox could accelerate in Europe, said Friday a regional official of the World Health Organization (WHO) while at least eight European countries have identified patients, including 20 in the United Kingdom.
“As we enter the summer season (…) with gatherings, festivals and parties, I fear that transmission is accelerating,” said WHO director for Europe Hans Kluge.
Cases of this virus endemic to West Africa have been recorded in several Western countries since the beginning of May, in particular in the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, or even in Portugal, France or Sweden. The extent of transmission is “atypical”, said Hans Kluge, pointing out that “all but one recent case had not traveled to areas where monkeypox is endemic”.
A rise that should continue
Most of the cases have been identified among men who have sex with men, also indicated Hans Kluge, the WHO having already indicated that it wants to shed light on the transmission of the virus within the homosexual community. On Friday, the United Kingdom announced that it had registered eleven new cases of the virus, bringing the number of people infected in the country to 20. France, Belgium and Germany have also identified their first cases.
According to the medical officer of the British Health Security Agency (UKHSA), Susan Hopkins, “this increase is expected to continue in the coming days”. She urged gay and homosexual people to be attentive to the slightest symptom.
The infection heals itself
Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. Rashes can occur, often on the face, and spread to other parts of the body including the genitals, before going through different phases, crusting over and falling off.
There is no treatment for monkeypox, which is spread by contact with an infected person or their body fluids, including saliva. This viral infection heals itself. The UKHSA says the virus is “not easily transmitted” between people and the risk to people in the UK is “low”.
Sajid Javid, Britain’s health minister on Friday, clarified on Friday that “most cases (in the UK) are mild”. And “I can confirm that we have made available more doses of effective monkeypox vaccines,” he added.
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