Umm Muhammed Umar
The World Health Organization has confirmed that more than 80 monkeypox infections have been found in nine European countries, the US, Canada and Australia. The European countries affected are: the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden. The BBC reports that another 50 suspected cases are being investigated by the WHO in other, as yet unnamed, countries.
Monkeypox, a rare viral infection from which most people reportedly recover in a few weeks, is said to be most common in remote parts of Central and West Africa. The recent outbreaks are atypical, having occurred in non-endemic countries.
According to the BBC, the virus does not spread easily between people, and so is not high risk. However, the WHO’s Europe regional director, Hans Kluge, warned that as the continent entered the summer season, with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, transmission could accelerate. Meanwhile, Kluge said that only one of the recent cases had travelled to areas where monkeypox was endemic.
While, there is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, the smallpox vaccine is used against it, the two viruses reportedly being similar. In the UK and Spain, authorities have bought stocks of the smallpox vaccine, for those who have been exposed to the monkeypox virus.