Home World Health officials are concerned after the discovery of monkeypox in more countries

Health officials are concerned after the discovery of monkeypox in more countries


Israel, Switzerland and Austria are the last countries to report monkeypox, bringing the total number of countries reporting outbreaks to 15.

In recent weeks, cases have been reported in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, as well as the US, Canada and Australia, raising concerns that the virus could spread.
On Saturday, the World Health Organization (WHO) received reports of 92 laboratory-confirmed cases of monkeypox and 28 suspected cases from several countries where the disease is not endemic.
In the UK, there are daily infections with the rare monkeypox virus, which are not linked to any trips to West Africa, where the disease is endemic, a health official said on Sunday.
The UK Health Agency (UKHSA) said the new figures would be released on Monday after 20 cases were reported on Friday.
Asked whether transmission in society is now the norm in Britain, UKHSA chief medical adviser Susan Hopkins answered “absolutely”.

“We find cases in which there has been no identified contact with a person from West Africa that we have seen before in this country,” she told the BBC. “We are finding more and more cases every day.”


Ms Hopkins declined to confirm reports that one person was in intensive care, but said the outbreak was concentrated in urban areas, among gay or bisexual men.
“The risk to the general population remains extremely low at the moment, and I think people should be wary,” she said, adding that for most adults, the symptoms will be “relatively mild.”
The first case in the UK was announced on May 7 in a patient who recently traveled to Nigeria. The disease is also spreading in Europe and North America.

Education Minister Nadhim Zahavi said the UK government had already started buying up smallpox vaccine stocks.

“We take this very, very seriously,” he told the BBC.
The United Nations AIDS Agency on Sunday called some reports of the monkeypox virus racist and homophobic, warning of worsening stigma and undermining the response to the growing outbreak.
UNAIDS said a “significant proportion” of recent cases of monkeypox have been found among gays, bisexuals and other men who have sex with men.

But the transmission is likely to occur through close physical contact with a monkey patient and can affect anyone, adding that some images of Africans and LGBTI “reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes and exacerbate stigma.”


“Stigma and accusations undermine trust and the ability to respond effectively to such outbreaks,” said UNAIDS Deputy Executive Director Matthew Cavanaugh.
“Experience has shown that stigmatizing rhetoric can quickly turn off evidence-based reactions, fueling cycles of fear, driving people away from health services, hindering case-finding efforts, and encouraging ineffective punitive measures.”
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion, and a rash similar to chickenpox on the hands and face.
There have been thousands of infections in some parts of Central and West Africa in recent years, but this is rare in Europe and North America.
Israel also confirmed its first case of monkeypox on Saturday.
A spokesman for Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv told AFP that a 30-year-old man who had recently returned from Western Europe with symptoms of monkeypox had tested positive for the virus.
On Friday, the health ministry said the man had been exposed to a man with monkeypox abroad, noting that a clinical sample had been taken for analysis as he remained in isolation in Ikhilav in a light condition.
The first case of monkeypox in Austria has been confirmed, the Vienna Health Authority said on Sunday following a report of suspicion.
“The suspicion of smallpox virus has been confirmed,” the health department said on Twitter, adding that the patient had a positive test for the virus, and given his symptoms, it is safe to assume it was monkeypox. On Sunday, he was taken to a city hospital with fever and skin lesions.
Swiss health officials on Saturday also reported the country’s first case of monkey infection in a person living in the canton of Bern but being infected abroad.
Bern’s health service said the patient was bypassed as a checkpoint and is now isolated at home. Everyone who contacted him was informed, the report said.
“As far as we know, this person was infected with the virus abroad,” the statement said.
Health officials learned of the case on Friday, and the next day it was confirmed as monkeypox.
WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge warned on Friday that cases could accelerate in the coming months as the virus spreads across Europe.
There is no cure, but symptoms usually go away in two to four weeks. The disease is considered endemic in 11 African countries.

Monkeypox can be transmitted by contact with damaged skin and droplets of an infected person, as well as common items such as bedding and towels.

Symptoms include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a rash similar to chickenpox on the hands and face. They usually pass in two to four weeks.
There is no specific treatment, but smallpox vaccination has been found to be approximately 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.
Smallpox has attracted the attention of US President Joe Biden, who said Sunday that people should be wary of the disease, which could have “consistent” consequences if it spreads further.
The U.S. leader during his first trip to Asia as president said in Seoul that health officials had not informed him of the “level of exposure” in the United States.
“But that’s something everyone should be concerned about,” Mr Biden told reporters before boarding Air Force One to fly to Tokyo.

“It is a matter of concern that if it spread, it would be effective,” he added. “We’re working hard on this to find out what we’re doing and what vaccine may be available for it.”


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