A disease that has rarely been detected outside the African continent begins to ignite health alerts in Europe, after at least 8 probable cases were located in Spain, 7 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom and 5 more in Portugal.
The cases correspond to monkeypox or monkeypox, a viral disease for which there is no vaccine or treatment, although its outbreaks can be controlled, reported the World Health Organization (WHO).
“In the past, the smallpox vaccine has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing monkeypox. However, the vaccine is no longer accessible to the public, since its production was suspended after the global eradication of smallpox. However, previous smallpox vaccination can contribute to a milder course of the disease, “said the body.
On May 6, the UK identified seven cases, including four in people who identify as “gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men,” according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).
The first case detected in the United Kingdom was that of a person who recently traveled to Nigeria.
“It is important to stress that monkeypox does not spread easily between people and the overall risk to the general public is very low,” said Colin Brown, director of clinical and emerging infections at the UKHSA.
In Portugal, the National Health Service identified in May more than 20 suspected cases of monkeypox in the cities of Lisbon and Valle de Tejo, however only 5 patients with the virus have been confirmed.
The agency explained that all patients are young men who have ulcerative skin lesions.
Meanwhile, in Spain, the director of the Coordination Center for Health Alerts and Emergencies, Fernando Simón, reported that so far there are eight suspected cases of monkeypox in Madrid.
In the spring of 2003, the disease was detected for the first time outside the African continent, when several cases were reported in the United States. The patients had contact with domestic prairie dogs, which had been infected by African rodents imported into that country.
The WHO detailed that monkeypox was first detected in humans in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then called Zaire) in a nine-year-old boy, in a region where smallpox had been eradicated in 1968. Since then, most reported cases have come from rural regions of the Congo Basin rainforest and West Africa, particularly the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where it is considered endemic.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980. Although monkeypox is much milder than smallpox, and most infected people recover within a few weeks, rarely can be deadly.