Spike in cases of monkeypox in Europe and North America

Monkeypox cases have more than doubled. In Britain a total of nine cases have been reported with 11 more cases to be announced shortly. It is believed that there are many more cases. Canada is investigating more than a dozen suspected cases. Spain and Portugal have detected more than 40 possible and verified cases.

Monkeypox virus
Monkeypox virus. Photo: BBC.

Update July 23, 2022: the head of the World Health Organisation has declared the monkeypox outbreak a “global health emergency”. He said that the risk globally is “moderate” but in Europe the risk is described as “high”. There have been more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox reported to the World Health Organisation from 75 countries with five deaths.

In Britain, two new cases were picked up within the country. In the past the disease has been brought into the country after the patient travelled abroad. It can be transmitted between people by direct contact through sex. It appears to affect gay people most often. In recent cases the patients have self-identified as gay, bisexual or men who have had sex with men.

The preventative treatment currently is the smallpox vaccine. Smallpox is the only disease eradicated by humans. Notices have been sent to sexual health clinics about this. Health leaders such as Dr. Susan Hopkins, UKHSA chief medical adviser, said: “We are urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns.”

The monkeypox virus causes only mild disease according to the report in The Times newspaper today May 20, 2022. Britain has 5,000 doses of smallpox vaccine. The government is ordering another 20,000 doses.

There is a greater sensitivity towards this sort of disease because of Covid which became a catastrophe once it was recognised that it could be transmitted from person to person rather than from animals to persons. And this is what is happening with monkeypox in Europe and North America.

As mentioned, initially the only people in the West who had the disease had travelled from West Africa where there is an ongoing outbreak. Now it is developing within the UK which causes a heightened concern.

However, there’s a big difference between monkeypox and Covid. Covid is spread via coughs and sneezes. Monkeypox spreads through close contact, possibly with infected pustules. Therefore, it is much less contagious than Covid.

The fact that it is reported in gay man is an indication that it requires prolonged skin-to-skin contact which happens in gay sex. Another reason for being less concerned is because there is a vaccine already in place.

The symptoms include fever, headache, exhaustion and then a rash. The rash develops into scabs. Most people recover within weeks. The experts are pretty relaxed about this disease it seems to me because it is controllable.

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Post Category: Zoonotic