Zurich, Switzerland: Already eight countries in Europe have confirmed cases of monkeypox, Dr Hans Henri Kluge, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Director for Europe, says. WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic told Sputnik on Friday that the organization had been notified of 37 confirmed monkeypox cases, with another 71 suspected cases under investigation. "To date, at least eight countries in the WHO European Region – Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom – have reported cases of monkeypox in recent days. Outside of countries where monkeypox is known to be endemic, recent similar cases have also been reported in Australia, Canada and the United States," WHO regional director Kluge said in a Friday statement. He specified that most of the cases registered in Europe are mild, but they require special attention.
These recent cases are atypical for several reasons. Firstly, because in this instance all but one of the recent cases have no relevant travel history to areas where monkeypox is endemic, in West Africa or Central Africa. Secondly, because most of the initial cases found are being detected through sexual health services and are among men who have sex with men. And thirdly, because of the geographically dispersed nature of the cases across Europe and beyond, this suggests that transmission may have been ongoing for some time," Kluge explained. According to the WHO, most people usually recover from monkeypox within a few weeks without treatment, but the disease can be more severe in young children, pregnant women, and individuals who are immunocompromised. The symptoms are initially flu-like, such as fever, chills, and swollen lymph nodes, which are then followed by a widespread rash. The monkeypox virus is not easily transmitted and usually spreads through close physical contact, including sexual contact, with an infected individual. The virus can enter the human body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, eyes, nose and mouth, and via bodily fluids.