Monkeypox cases are rising in Europe as infections are detected in two new countries

Cases of monkey pox goods confirmed in Scotland and Denmark on Monday – the first time the virus has been diagnosed in patients in those countries.

The Danish man is said to have contracted the viral infection in Spain, and the Scottish case is currently under investigation.

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Both individuals were treated for their conditions in hospitals in their home countries and contact tracing is underway.

The Danish man is now in isolation at home.

“We now have the first case of monkey pox in Denmark,” said Danish Health Minister Magnus Heunicke in a statement.

“The Danish Agency for Patient Safety is in the process of detecting infections, so close contact with the patient is guided in how they should behave.”

Health authorities in Denmark do not expect a widespread infection but plan to monitor the situation to prepare for any further developments.

Under 500X magnification, this image shows a section of skin tissue harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey infected with monkeypox virus, 1968. Credit: Smith Collection/GadoGado via Getty Images

The Director of Public Health Scotland and Medical Director Dr. Nick Phin said the same in a statement on Monday: “The overall risk to the general public is low.”

“Public Health Scotland is aware of a person in Scotland who has been confirmed to have monkey pox,” Phin said.

“The affected person is being managed and treated in accordance with nationally agreed protocols and guidelines.

“We have established and robust infection control procedures for dealing with such cases of infectious diseases and will be followed strictly.

“We are working with NHS Boards and wider partners in Scotland and the UK to investigate the source of this infection.

“Close contacts of the case are being identified and provided with health information and advice.

“This may include the offer of vaccination.”

The smallpox vaccine is recommended for prophylaxis (protection) after monkey pox exposure in the UK.

“Anyone with an unusual blister-like rash or a small number of blister-like sores on any part of their body, including their genital area, should avoid close contact with others and seek medical advice if they are concerned,” Phin said.

The disease does not usually spread easily between people, but UK health officials say it is possible if there has been extremely close contact with an infected person.
The disease does not usually spread easily between people, but UK health officials say it is possible if there has been extremely close contact with an infected person. Credit: BSIPUniversal Images Group via Getty

David Heymann, who previously headed the WHO’s emergency department, told the Associated Press that the main theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves in Spain and Belgium.

Madrid’s senior health official, Enrique Ruiz Escudero, said on Monday that authorities are investigating possible links between a recent Gay Pride event in the Canary Islands, which attracted 80,000 people, and falls in a sauna in Madrid.

Heymann, who is also a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the monkeypox outbreak was likely a random event traceable to a single infection.

“It is entirely possible that someone has become infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or elsewhere, and then spread them to others when there was sexual or close physical contact,” Heymann hypothesized.

“And then there were these international events that triggered the outbreak all over the world, in the US and other European countries.”

On Monday, Portugal revised its total up to 37, Italy reported another infection and the United Kingdom added 37 new cases.

More than 100 suspected and confirmed cases in a recent outbreak in Europe, North America and Australia were not serious, according to Maria van Kerkhove, WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonoses and technical leader on COVID-19.

“This is a manageable situation,” especially in Europe, she said.

“But we can’t take our eyes off the ball with what’s happening in Africa, in countries where it’s endemic.”

Scientists are trying to understand the origin of the cases and whether anything about the virus has changed.

The WHO is asking dermatology and primary health clinics, as well as sexual health clinics, to be alert to possible cases.

-With Reuters

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