The monkeypox virus has been diagnosed in 54 people in the Netherlands. That is fourteen more than last Thursday. All known patients so far are men who have sex with other men, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said on Tuesday.
Last Monday the counter stood at 26 cases, so the number of confirmed infections has approximately doubled in a week.
Some of the infections can be traced back to an outbreak at the Belgian festival Darklands, a fetish event. Health authorities do emphasize that anyone can get monkey pox after close contact with someone who is infected.
Also read: Monkeypox fear strikes in the Netherlands: have we become too sensitive?
The virus originates in Africa. For a few weeks now, it has been circulating mainly in European countries. On Friday, May 20, it was reported for the first time that someone in the Netherlands had contracted the disease.
People can contract the virus through close (skin) contact with someone who carries it. In addition to characteristic bumps on the skin, patients may experience fever, headache, back pain and swollen lymph nodes. The course of the disease is usually quite mild, but with complications, the condition can be fatal.
People born before 1974 are still vaccinated against ‘normal’ smallpox, which was still circulating in the world at the time. That vaccine could also protect against monkey pox, according to experts.
Anyone who tests positive for the disease must be in isolation. This means that the person is not allowed to have contact with others until the complaints are over. Close contacts, such as family members and sex partners, must be quarantined as a precaution. They can be offered a smallpox vaccine by the GGD. That way they can reduce the chance of getting sick themselves.