At least 9 countries have reported monkeypox infections – here’s what you need to know about the cases

  • Cases of monkeypox have been identified in the United States, Australia and Europe.
  • The virus is usually spread by wild animals in central and western Africa.
  • The recently reported cases have followed an “unusual” pattern of spread in previously unaffected communities.

Monkeypox is a rare disease usually found in Central and West Africa. The virus has already been spotted on other continents, usually in cases linked to foreign travel.

The last monkeypox case detected in the United States, Australia and a number of European countries did not follow the usual pattern, global health officials said. The disease rarely spreads between humans, but recent infections suggest the likelihood of community transmission.

While some of the first cases had confirmed travel links, many infections appear to have been passed between people in Europe – namely in the UKwhere contact tracing and testing is ongoing.

Here’s what you need to know about monkeypox cases detected around the world.

UK

The first known case of the current monkeypox outbreak was announced in the UK on May 7. According to UK Health Security Agencythe patient had recently traveled to Nigeria, where he allegedly contracted the infection.

Since then, at least 20 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in the UK.

Two people who share a household in London are believed to have had monkeypox on May 14, with no known link to the first traveler.

Four more cases were confirmed on Monday, with some common contacts within the group but no links to previously reported cases, according to the UKHSA. The individuals, all male, had no connection to travel to the affected countries.

British health authorities reported two more cases on Wednesday. Neither case had known links to infected people or travel history to countries where monkeypox is endemic, so the virus can spread to England.

On Friday, the UKHSA announced 11 more confirmed cases of monkeypox. Dr Susan Hopkins, chief medical adviser, said more cases are expected in the coming days as health services monitor close contacts and healthcare workers for symptoms.

United States

the first case of monkeypox in the United States this year was confirmed Wednesday by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The case, an adult male who had recently traveled to Canada, ‘poses no risk to the public’, department says Press release.

New York City health officials said late friday that they had confirmed a case of monkeypox and ruled out a suspected case. Earlier, officials said a patient was awaiting test results in isolation at Bellevue Hospital. The case has not yet been confirmed by the CDC.

Canada

After a case of monkeypox was reported in Massachusetts, the US CDC began working with the Public Health Agency of Canada to identify potential exposures there. The American traveler may have been infected before or during a trip to Montreal, Quebec, according to PHAC.

People with symptoms that may be consistent with monkeypox infection were tested, and on Thursday evening the National Microbiology Laboratory reported two samples positive for monkeypox.

The two cases, reported in Quebec, are the first to be confirmed in Canada.

Portugal

More than 20 suspected monkeypox infections were identified in Portugal in May. On Tuesday, five cases were confirmed by lab tests at the country’s National Institute of Health.

All suspected and confirmed cases are located in the Lisbon region and the Tagus Valley, according to the Portuguese health authorities.

The suspected cases, mostly young and all male, have ulcerative lesions similar to those seen in confirmed monkeypox infections, officials said.

Sweden

A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Sweden, according to a press release from the Swedish Public Health Agency.

The infected person is not seriously ill, but has received treatment, Swedish health authorities said. They do not yet know where or how the individual was infected, but an investigation is ongoing.

Italy

Italian health authorities have diagnosed a case of monkeypox at Spallanzani Hospital in Rome, Reuters reported Thursday. The infected person is in isolation after returning from a trip to the Canary Islands.

Two other suspected cases have yet to be confirmed, the hospital said, according to Reuters.

Belgium

Two cases of monkeypox have been identified in two different towns in Belgium, according to local news reports compiled by Reuters.

The first infected person was diagnosed in Antwerp, a spokesperson for the Belgian Care and Health Agency said. They are not seriously ill and are currently isolated with their partner.

The second case was confirmed in the region of Flemish Brabant, a virologist from Leuven, Marc Van Ranstsaid on Twitter.

France

There is at least one suspect case of monkeypox in France, Reuters reported Thursday.

The first suspected case was detected in the Paris region as part of extensive surveillance in Europe, the French Ministry of Health said.

Germany

Germany has identified just one case of monkeypox, but health officials do not expect to see many more cases, the German armed forces medical service said on Friday.

“The Institute for Microbiology of the German Armed Forces in Munich also detected the monkeypox virus undoubtedly for the first time in Germany on May 19, 2022 in a patient with characteristic skin lesions,” the service said in a statement, according to Reuters.

Australia

The first case of monkeypox in Australia has been identified in a traveler returning from the UK, Reuters reported Friday. The man is in his 30s and arrived in Melbourne on Monday, according to the Victorian state health department.

Another probable case has been identified in Sydney, where a man in his 40s developed “mild” symptoms after traveling to Europe. Tests are underway to confirm his case, Australian health officials told reporters.


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