MOSCOW, May 20. /TASS/. The monkeypox virus, which was detected in several European countries in April-May, has reached other continents. All in all, at least 11 countries have reported monkeypox cases, namely Spain, Portugal, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, France, Germany, Sweden, Canada, the United States, and Australia.
After studying the monkeypox situation in the United Kingdom, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it sees no grounds for serious concerns, with no restrictions on travel to Britain or on trade with the UK being recommended.
Russia’s sanitary watchdog has assessed the risks of the disease being imported into Russia as "very low."
TASS has summed up reports about monkeypox cases over the past month.
The first monkeypox cases were reported in Spain and Portugal. According to the Spanish daily, El Pais, the virus began to circulate around Madrid back in April. By now, seven cases have been confirmed and some 30 more patients are suspected of having the disease. Five cases have been confirmed in neighboring Portugal.
The United Kingdom’s first monkeypox case was reported on May 7. To date, the tally has reached nine. The first patient was a man who returned from Nigeria, where monkeypox is an endemic disease. However, in other cases, the patients did not go on any overseas travel. According to the UK Health Security Agency, monkeypox patients are predominantly homosexual men and the risk of the disease spreading in the country is seen as low.
Isolated monkeypox cases were reported on Thursday from Italy, France, Germany, and Sweden. An Italian having recently returned from the Canary Island was infected. With that said, no details of the French and Swedish cases are available so far.
All monkeypox patients are receiving medical attention. The authorities have asked those who had any contact with people who were infected to observe self-isolation.
Canada’s Montreal has reported 17 suspected cases of monkeypox. According to the health ministry, most cases are confirmed in male gays. Doctors cannot see the threat of a mass outbreak.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported one case of monkeypox on Thursday. The patient was a male adult who had recently travelled to Canada. The department claims that this case poses no threat to the population.
Australia’s New South Wales confirmed one case of monkeypox in humans on Friday. Health officials reported that a 40-year-old man, who had returned from a journey to Europe a few days before, became the first virus carrier in Australia. The patient and his family have been isolated.
Not a big threat
The World Health Organization (WHO) shows no concerns about the risk of a mass outbreak of this infection. Speaking at a briefing on May 17, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus only in passing referred to "monkeypox affecting a number of countries." Having analyzed the cases of this disease in the UK, the WHO confined their recommendations to a standard set of hygienic requirements and did not insist on travel and trade restrictions for the UK.
Russia’s Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing said that "the risk of the infection being imported to the Russia Federation has been and remains extremely low." The watchdog "is taking all necessary measures to prevent this disease from being imported to the territory of our country." The consumer health watchdog’s Vector Research Center of Virology and Biotechnology has submitted an application to the Health Ministry for registration of the smallpox vaccine Orthopoxvac, which, in specialists’ views, "forms a stable immunity while having a high safety profile."
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease mainly transmitted to humans by contact with infected wild animals (rodents or primates). The human-to-human transmission is limited as it requires close contact. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle pain, backache, swelling in the lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. It may be followed by a rash on the face and body. The WHO says that mortality rates from the monkeypox virus outbreaks had been usually from 1% to 10%, though most fatalities were recorded in younger age groups. There is no specific treatment or a vaccine for monkeypox, but the vaccines used against smallpox provide highly effective protection against this disease. -0—mil/.