Europe (The Times Groupe)- Israel, Switzerland, and Austria have confirmed Monkeypox cases, bringing the total number of nations reporting outbreaks to 15.
Both Israel and Switzerland identified one infected person who recently travelled abroad. Israel is investigating other possible cases.
Monkeypox is not easily spread between people, and the illness is usually mild.
Monkeypox is most common in remote areas of Central and West Africa.
In the recent outbreaks in Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia, more than 80 cases have been confirmed.
The outbreak has caught scientists by surprise, but the risk to the general public is considered low. According to the UK‘s National Health Service, most people who contract the virus recover within a few weeks.
There are several other suspected cases being investigated – although the countries involved have not been named – and more infections are more likely to be confirmed, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The US President said after returning from a visit to South Korea that if the outbreak spreads more widely, it would be “consequential”, adding that “it is something that everyone should be concerned about”.
The US is “working hard” on its response and what vaccines it might use.
Public health agencies in Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden confirmed cases after the virus was first identified in the UK.
Dr. Susan Hopkins, the UK’s chief medical adviser, told the BBC’s Sunday Morning programme: “We are detecting more cases every day.”
Several cases of the virus have been reported without any contact with anyone who has been to West Africa, where the disease is endemic.
The risk to the general population remains extremely low, with most cases occurring in gay or bisexual communities and urban areas, Dr Hopkins said.
Although there is no specific Monkeypox vaccine, several countries have said they are stocking smallpox vaccines, which are about 85% effective in preventing infection due to the similarity of both viruses.
According to a WHO statement on Friday, the recent outbreaks were unusual in that they occurred in countries where the disease was not endemic.
The reason for this unexpected outbreak is unclear.
There is a possibility that the virus has changed in some way, although at the moment there is little evidence that it is a new variant.
Another explanation is that the virus thrived because it was at the right place at the right time.
The Monkeypox may also spread more readily than it did in the past, when the smallpox vaccine was widely used.
Hans Kluge, WHO’s regional director for Europe, has warned that “transmission could accelerate” during the summer as people gather for festivals and parties.
Additionally to the European cases, Australia has confirmed that one man who visited the UK contracted the virus.
Health authorities in the US state of Massachusetts said one man who recently travelled to Canada tested positive for the virus.
Two cases have been identified in Quebec, but it is unclear whether the US traveller was infected before or during his visit to Montreal.