Monkeypox diagnosed in Belgium – In Belgium, a first infection with the monkeypox virus has been established, reported the Institute of Tropical Medicine in Antwerp Thursday evening. The virus, which is extremely rare in Europe, has recently started to appear more and more often on our continent.
No infections have yet been detected in the Netherlands.
Since the beginning of this month, several dozen infections have already been reported in various European and North American countries.
In Spain and Portugal, more than forty confirmed and suspected cases of the virus infection have now been discovered, while the number of infections in Great Britain has risen to at least seven after the first three cases earlier in May.
The outbreaks in southern Europe are concentrated in the regions of the capitals Madrid and Lisbon. The British, who speak of an “extremely unusual” situation, are working with the World Health Organization (WHO) to investigate the British outbreak.
How it is that the virus is suddenly spreading is still unclear. According to the RIVM, the virus variant that is currently circulating in Europe is not very contagious.
Significant proportion of infections through sexual contact
In general, an infection with the monkeypox virus takes place via respiratory droplets. A significant proportion of current infections occurred through sexual contact, health authorities say. In most cases, it was about sex between men.
The symptoms resemble an infection with the disappeared disease smallpox. People infected with monkeypox get a rash that usually starts in the face and then goes to other parts of the body.
Other symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue. Most people recover from the disease within a few weeks.
There is a vaccine against the monkeypox virus. According to the RIVM, this can be used in the first days after a (possible) infection. The vaccine can also be used to prevent people from becoming infected. It is available in Europe.
Monkeypox normally only occurs in Central and West Africa. The virus was first found in monkeys in 1958.
Monkeypox diagnosed in Belgium, virus is popping up more and more often in Europe
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