WHO: Monkeypox outbreak in Europe started as early as mid-April

The first monkeypox infection was diagnosed in England at the beginning of May. Hundreds of cases have now been reported in Europe. In the Netherlands, the first case was announced on 20 May. The counter is now at 26.

The recorded cases show that monkeypox is currently transmitted “through social networks linked by sexual activity, mainly involving men who have sex with men,” Kluge said.

Vaccine approved

The doctor emphasizes that monkey pox is caused by a virus that does not distinguish between people and therefore does not target a specific group.

It’s not clear whether the spread of the monkeypox virus can be completely contained, Kluge says. Although a vaccine and specific treatment for monkeypox have been approved, they are not yet widely available. That is why human-to-human transmission must be stopped as much as possible, the doctor believes.

Virus sometimes deadly

Monkeypox starts just like the flu: you can suffer from fever, headache, nausea. But a few days later, patients are confronted with round blisters with pus, which dry out a few days later and finally disappear. Monkeypox and smallpox belong to the smallpox virus family, which is different from the well-known chickenpox that occurs in children.

Monkeypox virus was first identified in monkeys in 1958, but today rodents are considered the main animal host. The vast majority of people recover from the illness within a few weeks. In a few cases hospitalization is necessary, and sometimes the disease can be fatal.

Two strains of the virus are known: the Congo strain is quite pathogenic and can even lead to death in 10 percent of cases. But there is also a West African strain that is less contagious and pathogenic, which can be fatal in about 1 percent of cases. “What we see in Great Britain is one of the milder varieties,” says Koopmans. “However, the virus is more dangerous for vulnerable people.”

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