Monkeypox is raising its ugly head in Portugal with health authorities confirming 5 cases in the youth. Also, Britain announced two additional cases, thereby affirming an undefined outbreak all across the Europe. This disease was confined to Africa hitherto. The Directorate-General of Health of Portugal has gone on records to state that it is into investigation of 15 suspected cases that were identified in May 2022 in and around Lisbon.
These cases revolve around young men, as per the authorities. They are reported to have skin lesions and have been identified as “stable”. Officials didn’t mention anything about travel history of those who contracted monkeypox (if they travelled to Africa).
On the other hand, The US state health officials based out of Massachusetts did report a case of monkeypox in one of the residents travelling to Canada. Investigations regarding connection of these outbreak with the European outbreaks are “on”.
The two cases in Britain could be split as – one in London and the other in southeastern England. As per the authorities, none of the two patients had travelled to Africa and the likelihood of infection happening in the UK could not be ruled out.
Health Security Agency of Britain’s Dr. Sudan Hopkins (chief medical advisor) has said that the latest cases of monkeypox could certainly be a matter of grave concern. Amongst the men, bisexual or gay men are more prone to monkeypox.
Though monkeypox hasn’t been documented previously to have been spread through sex, it has been asserted that transmission could happen through close contact with the infected people, their bedsheets or clothing. The healthcare personnel also state that risk amongst the general population still stays minimal.
As far as Spain is concerned, the health authorities in central Madrid state that 23 probable cases of monkeypox have been recorded. Even here the suspected cases are the youth and most of them did have intercourse with the other men.
Monkeypox related to Smallpox?
It’s interesting to know that monkeypox comes from the family of viruses that include smallpox as well. Majority of the people do recover from monkeypox within a few weeks, but as per the WHO, the disease is deadly for 10% of those infected.
Coming to smallpox, the disease is almosty non-existent since the last few decades. Though smallpox vaccine is available, countries like India had put forth a slogan “Get a case of smallpox, and win 1000 INR”, way back in 90s.
As per Dr. Ibrahim Soce Fall, assistant director-general for emergency response (the WHO), spread of monkeypox all across the UK needs deep investigation. Also, the health officials need a much better understanding of the way monkeypox spreads overall, even in the nations where it’s endemic.
The last year witnessed close to 3000 cases of monkeypox in Nigeria and over 6000 cases in Congo, and there are still several unknowns with respect to dynamics of transmission.
The virus is carried by rodents. However, it’s still unknown as to how does human-to-human transmission takes place.
With results of research awaited, the available measures are being tried out.