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03 July, 2022
 
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Monkeypox: Dozens of suspected and confirmed cases in Europe and North America

Although the disease is no highly contagious to humans, authorities are being cautious

Kathimerini Greece Newsroom

Dozens of suspected and confirmed cases of monkeypox have been identified since early May in Europe and North America, raising fears that the disease, which is endemic to West Africa, could spread.

The British health authorities, which was the first country to detect cases on May 6, announced last night, Wednesday night, that two more patients have been identified, bringing to nine the total number of people infected with the monkeypox virus.

Monkeypox is a rare, infectious disease, similar to smallpox in humans that was eradicated in 1980. Although it is milder and most patients recover within a few weeks, in rare cases it can be fatal.

With the exception of the first infected person, who recently traveled to Nigeria, the rest of the patients became infected in Britain, according to the UK Health Insurance Agency (UKHSA).

"These latest cases, as well as reports of cases in various European countries, confirm what we initially feared: that monkeypox could be transmitted to our communities," said Dr. Susan Hopkins, UKHSA Key Medical Advisor.

Monkeypox is a rare, infectious disease, similar to smallpox in humans that was eradicated in 1980. Although it is milder and most patients recover within a few weeks, in rare cases it can be fatal.

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. Patients may also develop skin rashes, which often start on the face and spread to other parts of the body, including the genitals.

There is no cure for monkeypox, which is transmitted through contact with an infected patient or body fluids, including saliva. The disease usually resolves on its own.

Yesterday, Wednesday, Spain, Portugal, Canada and the United States announced that they had spotted monkeypox or something similar to the disease in their territory.

Spain and Portugal said they had identified a total of about 40 suspected or confirmed cases of the disease, prompting their health authorities to sound a national health alarm.

In Canada, more than a dozen suspected cases were investigated yesterday in Montreal, state radio station Radio-Canada reported, citing the city's health authorities.

In the USA, a man who had recently visited Canada was found to be positive for this disease in the state of Massachusetts.

Authorities generally try to be reassuring, stressing that the disease is not highly contagious to humans.

However, the increase in outbreaks is a cause for concern and the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Monday that it is carefully examining the fact that some of the cases in Britain appear to have been transmitted within the gay community.

"We are witnessing transmissions between men who have had sex with men," he said.

"Anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can transmit monkeypox," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in the United States.

Sources: ΑΠΕ-ΜΠΕ, AFP

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