While the entire world is still fighting and dealing with the ongoing COVID pandemic, a potential new concern looks to be on the horizon to be worried about after cases of Monkeypox have now been reported or are suspected in the US and numerous European countries.
The outbreaks are alarming as the viral disease, which generally spreads upon close contact and was first found in monkeys, mainly occurs in the west and central Africa and only occasionally spreads elsewhere. However, countries like Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States have started reporting more and more monkeypox cases recently, raising concerns amongst the general public about yet another potential outbreak.
What Is Monkeypox?
The Monkeypox virus causes fever symptoms, accompanied by a distinctive bumpy rash. The virus is usually mild; however, there are two main strains of Monkeypox. The Congo strain is more severe – with up to 10 per cent mortality – and the West African strain has a fatality rate of approximately 1 per cent of cases. The cases reported in the UK are of the West African Monkeypox strain, reported ZeeNews.
"Historically, there have been very few cases exported. It has only happened eight times in the past before this year," Jimmy Whitworth, a professor of international public health at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said and also labelled it as "highly unusual".
Meanwhile, Portugal has reported five confirmed cases, with Spain testing 23 potential cases until May 19. However, none of the two countries reported Monkeypox cases before.
The Monkeypox Virus Outspread!
The Monkeypox virus is known for spreading through close contact, both in spillovers from animals and, less commonly, amongst human beings. This virus was first detected in monkeys back in 1958, from which it obtained its name, although rodents are now witnessing as the probable main animal host.
Transmission this time is bewildering experts as many of the cases in the United Kingdom - nine in total until May 18 - have no known contact with each other. Only the first intial case, which was reported on May 6, had recently travelled to Nigeria.
Experts have warned of more comprehensive transmission if cases have gone unreported.
The UK Health Security Agency has alerted that the recent Monkeypox cases were mainly among men who self-identified as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men and had suggested those groups be more aware.
Researchers are also carrying out genomic sequencing to check if the viruses are linked, the World Health Organisation (WHO) had said earlier this week.
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