The WHO has confirmed more than 360 positive cases outside the African continent. Spain is the European country with the most cases, 120 confirmed and 45 others in the study. It is followed by the United Kingdom with 106 positive cases and Portugal with 74 cases.
Less than fifteen days after the first confirmed cases of monkeypox in Spain, on May 18, the movement is accelerating. Indeed, the Spanish Ministry of Health confirmed 120 cases of monkeypox in Spain earlier this week, 22 more than those reported last Friday by the Carlos III Health Institute laboratory, which contained all the samples from the suspected cases.
This is the first time such a widespread epidemic has been observed in Europe.
This disease has been known to be endemic in West and Central African countries for at least 40 years. However, while cases have already been reported in other regions, always linked to people who had traveled to the African continent, this is the first time such a widespread epidemic has been observed in Europe.
Spain, the country most affected by monkeypox in the world
Spain has even become the country to record the largest outbreak of monkeypox since the 1970s. The 120 cases detected so far in Spain exceed the 89 confirmed by the World Health Organization (WHO) during the epidemic 2017 in Nigeria, so far the hardest by those who are discovered in the world.
Outside of Africa, the largest outbreak to date has been in the United States United States in 2003. This health crisis was triggered by the importation of African rodents, which are actually the main vectors of the diseaseto be sold as pets. However, the quick response of the authorities had prevented the spread of the disease in the EU.
smallpox and monkeypox
Monkeypox, or simian orthopoxvirus, is to be distinguished from smallpox, which has been responsible for millions of deaths through the 20th century. This virus had indeed ravaged mankind for more than 3,000 years and is still causing it 300 million dead in the last century. In 1977, thanks to the vaccine, the WHO announced that smallpox had completely disappeared and vaccination was then discontinued in the United States in 1972 and in France in 1980.
Experts say the risk to humans is low and is unlikely to spread like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Where are most cases in Spain?
Currently 7 autonomous communities are affected. That most events are in Madrid, at 76, well above the rest of the regions. Far behind are Catalonia (9) and the Canary Islands (6). Then come the Basque Country, Andalusia, Aragon and Galicia.
Isolation and masks as preventive measures
Concerns about the changing incidence of monkeypox in Spain prompted the Health Ministry to approve a Early Detection Protocol. There should also be confirmed cases isolated and their contacts should wear masksto control the transmission of the virus.
Monkeypox: a scenario similar to Covid-19?
The disease, first identified in monkeys in 1958, does not easily spread to humans. Experts therefore assume that the risk for the population is low and that the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic is not to be expected. Especially since the monkey virus is a DNA virus and therefore the risk of mutation is very low in contrast to RNA viruses.
Yes but no…
The EU has also announced that the risk of generalized contagion is “very low” and the WHO, for its part, said a week ago that the epidemic could be “stopped” in “non-endemic countries”. However, theWHO just got in touch that she’s worried that the Transmission “does not accelerate” during the Festivals and mass events this summer.
How do you catch the virus?
Contagion requires close contact, through touching the chickenpox-like skin lesions that occur in infected individuals, but also through “respiratory droplets” from prolonged direct contact, or through contaminated objects. In its most recent report, the European Center for Disease Control and Prevention (ECDC) identified sex as the main cause of transmission.
There is currently no specific vaccine against monkeypox, but data shows that vaccines used to eradicate smallpox are 85% effective against monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
That’s why this is People over 45 are immune through their smallpox vaccination, which would still confer protection against that monkeypox. The youngest would therefore be more affected.
As a result, the epidemic has prompted many European countries to rush to get hold of doses of the only available and effective vaccine against the virus, which is already being vaccinated in Germany and France. In Spain, the decision to buy vaccines was made later, but the Ministry of Health announced this Monkeypox vaccines will soon arrive in Spainafter a joint purchase with the European Union.
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