On Saturday, Israel and Switzerland recorded (21) the first case of monkeypox in their region. Other cases of the disease, which is endemic to central and western Africa, were confirmed earlier this week in Europe and North America. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is not ruling out vaccination to stop a potential epidemic. Spain, the European country worst affected, has already requested millions of doses of smallpox immunity.
The infected Israeli is a man in his 30s who recently returned from Europe, according to a spokesperson for Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv. On Friday (20), the Israeli Ministry of Health reported that the man, who had mild symptoms, had been in contact with a patient during the flight.
In Switzerland, the first case was a person from the canton of Bern who had also returned from a trip to another country. A survey of patient contacts was conducted to identify possible chains of transmission, according to local authorities in a statement. The same source indicated that the infected person is isolated at home, and all those in contact with him have been informed.
France, Germany, the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden, Spain and Canada have reported cases of the disease.
Most of the recent cases have been observed in Western countries among men who have had sex with men, according to the World Health Organization, which indicated on Friday (20) that it should study transmission of the virus between homosexuals.
The development of the disease worries health authorities. Pollution may increase on the European continent, according to the director of the European arm of the World Health Organization, Friday, in a statement, specifying, however, that most infections are mild.
To prevent an epidemic, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) does not rule out vaccination with smallpox immunity. “If a country has smallpox vaccinations, close and high-risk vaccination of contacts should be considered after risk/benefit assessment,” recommends the CDC.
In the face of an increase in cases on Spanish soil, the Spanish Ministry of Health stepped in and ordered millions of doses of the smallpox vaccine. Spain is the country with the highest number of virus infections in the world, with 30 confirmed cases.
a rare disease
Monkeypox, or ‘orthopoxvirus’, is a rare disease that can be transmitted from animal to human and vice versa.
Symptoms, to a lesser extent, are similar to those seen in cases of smallpox: fever, headache, muscle and back aches for the first five days. Then rashes appear on the skin of the face, palms and feet.
There are no specific treatments or vaccines against the virus, but it is possible to contain the outbreak, as the World Health Organization (WHO) explains. The disease usually clears up spontaneously and symptoms last between 14 and 21 days.
Severe cases increase in children and are associated with exposure to the virus, the patient’s health status, and the severity of complications. The case fatality rate can vary greatly depending on the epidemiology, but it was less than 10% in all documented cases.
Human-to-human transmission occurs through contact with respiratory secretions and skin lesions from an infected person or contaminated objects.
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