UK: A handful of cases of monkeypox have now been reported or are suspected in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain.
The outbreaks are raising alarm because the disease mostly occurs in west and central Africa, and only very occasionally spreads elsewhere.
Monkeypox is a virus that causes fever symptoms as well as a distinctive bumpy rash. It is usually mild, although there are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more severe with up to 10% mortality and the West African strain, which has a fatality rate of more like 1% of cases. The UK cases have been reported as the West African strain.
Portugal has logged five confirmed cases, and Spain is testing 23 potential cases. Neither country has reported cases before. The virus spreads through close contact, both in spillovers from animal hosts and, less commonly, between humans. It was first found in monkeys in 1958, hence the name, although rodents are now seen as the main source of transmission.
Transmission this time is puzzling experts, because a number of the cases in the United Kingdom – nine as of May 18 – have no known connection with each other. Only the first case reported on May 6 had recently travelled to Nigeria. Monkeypox puts virologists on the alert because it is in the smallpox family, although it causes less serious illness.
Health authorities in Canada’s Quebec are probing more than a dozen suspected cases of monkeypox public broadcaster CBC was quoted by ndtv.com on Wednesday.
The United States also confirmed one case “in a man who had recently travelled to Canada, after European health officials confirmed dozens of cases earlier this week.”
– INDIA TODAY