What is monkeypox? – significant rise in case in Europe and US 22nd May 2022 – Posted in: Epidemic, Virus – Tags:

The World Health Organisation has identified around 80 cases of monkeypox worldwide and around 50 other suspected infections. A leading doctor told Sky News that the UK is facing a “significant increase” over the next week.

Monkeypox, which is linked to the now-eradicated smallpox virus, is endemic in parts of central and west Africa.

UK authorities are detecting new cases of monkeypox every day, a leading doctor has warned.

The UK faces a “significant increase” in cases of monkeypox over the next week, an expert warned, as new infections are reported in mainland Europe and the US.

A total of 120 confirmed or suspected cases have been reported worldwide – including 20 in the UK – with most infections in Spain linked to a sauna in Madrid.

Switzerland recorded its first showed case on Saturday after an inflamed man or woman advanced a fever and rash and felt unwell, officers said.

First Monkeypox cases

The World Health Organisation has identified around 80 cases of monkeypox worldwide and around 50 other suspected infections. A leading doctor told Sky News that the UK is facing a “significant increase” over the next week.

Monkeypox, which is linked to the now-eradicated smallpox virus, is endemic in parts of central and west Africa.

UK authorities are detecting new cases of monkeypox every day, a leading doctor has warned.

monkeypox cases
Table 1. Cases of monkeypox in non-endemic countries reported to WHO between 13 to 21 May 2022 as at 13:00 Source: who.int

The UK faces a “significant increase” in cases of monkeypox over the next week, an expert warned, as new infections are reported in mainland Europe and the US.

A total of 120 confirmed or suspected cases have been reported worldwide – including 20 in the UK – with most infections in Spain linked to a sauna in Madrid.

Switzerland recorded its first showed case on Saturday after an inflamed man or woman advanced a fever and rash and felt unwell, officers said.

Geographical distribution of confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox in non-endemic between 13 to 21 May 2022, as at 13:00.

Speaking on Sunday, Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA’s chief medical adviser, said updated figures for the weekend would be released on Monday as she warned the virus was spreading in urban areas, albeit at low levels.

Initially, Biden said the government was looking for a vaccine “if it exists” to protect people against the virus. But later his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said the US had a “vaccine available for distribution” against the monkeypox virus if needed.

Officials at the federal Centers for Disease Control have already said that people exposed to the smallpox virus, which has a slow incubation period, can receive existing smallpox vaccines to limit the severity of the disease.

Biden’s initial remarks about the growing epidemic of the rare virus came a day after a senior adviser to the World Health Organization said monkeypox appeared to be spreading through sexual contact and warned that the number of cases could continue to rise during the summer due to attendance at festivals and other large gatherings.

“What seems to be happening now is that it has entered the population in a sexual, genital way and is spreading, like sexually transmitted infections, which has amplified its transmission around the world,” WHO adviser David Heymann said.

Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, told reporters Sunday that the United States has vaccines to protect people from monkeypox if necessary.

“There is a vaccine that is relevant to treat monkey pox. We have vaccines that can be deployed for that purpose,” he said, adding that Biden was regularly briefed on the progress of the outbreak.

The World Health Organization said on Saturday it had received reports of 92 confirmed cases of monkeypox and 28 suspected cases in 12 countries where the virus is not normally found, an outbreak it described as highly unusual. No associated deaths have been reported.

WHO said the cases were identified mainly in men who have sex with men, and that patients visited primary care and sexual health clinics. It said the monkeypox virus is transmitted from person to person through close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.

Dr Claire Dewsnap said: “Our response is really critical here. There will be more diagnoses over the next week. It’s hard to say how many.”

“What worries me most is that there are infections across Europe, so the virus has already spread. It is already circulating in the general population. It’s a huge job to take stock of the contacts of all these people. The numbers could be very large over the next two or three weeks.”

Dr Dewsnap said she expected more cases of monkeypox to be identified in the UK.

“I certainly expect a significant increase over the next week,” she added.

Scientists baffled by spread of monkeypox

Dr Dewsnap is concerned about the impact on other infections of the reallocation of staff to monkeypox control when “the public health budget has been drastically reduced over the last ten years”.

“Some clinics that have had cases have had to advise people not to go there,” she added.

“They have done that mainly because if someone has symptoms consistent with monkey pox, we don’t want people sitting in waiting rooms and risking infecting other people.

“They have set up telephone triage in all these places.”

References

  1. WHO
  2. Skynews
  3. BBC
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