Geneva (The Times Groupe)- The World Health Organization (WHO) said Friday that at least eight countries in the European Region have reported cases of monkeypox in recent days, while Australia, Canada, and the US have also reported similar cases.
Recently, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and the UK reported monkeypox – a rare viral infection that can spread from person to person and is caused by the monkeypox virus.
“There are several reasons why these recent cases are atypical,” said Hans Kluge, WHO regional director for Europe.
“All but one of the cases have no relevant travel history to places where monkeypox is endemic, such as West Africa or Central Africa,” he said.
According to Kluge, the majority of the initial cases were detected through sexual health services and involve men who have had sex with men.
“Geographically dispersed cases across Europe and beyond may have been transmitted for a long time,” he said.
WHO is working with concerned countries to investigate cases further, identify the source of infection, determine how the virus is spreading, and limit further transmission, Kluge said.
“We also provide guidance and support on surveillance, testing, infection prevention and control, clinical management, risk communication, as well as facilitating information sharing across countries and health networks,” Kluge says.
Kluge says most cases in Europe under investigation are mild.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Transmission of Monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus. The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). Animal-to-human transmission may occur by bite or scratch, bush meat preparation, direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, or indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated bedding. Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets. Respiratory droplets generally cannot travel more than a few feet, so prolonged face-to-face contact is required. Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens.”