Monkeypox latest news summary | 21 May 2022
Monkeypox outbreak: live updates
Monkeypox outbreak: headlines
- Potential case of monkeypox being moitored in Israel.
- WHO confirms 80 cases of monkeypox in 12 countries, is investigating a possible further 50
- WHO to hold emergency meeting on monkeypox as Robert Koch Institute describes outbreak as "endemic"
- US government orders $119 million of smallpox vaccine Jynneos - does it protect against monkeypox?
- Chief Medical Advisor in UK warns: "We expect this increase to continue in the coming days"
- Concern that the monkeypox virus may now be spreading through sexual contact for the first time
- Australia confirms first case via traveller from UK
- Second and third cases confirmed in Germany
- New cases detected in Netherlands, Belgium and Italy
- Authorities in Madrid, Spain close sauna linked to majority of infections
- One confirmed US case of monkeypox, in Massachusetts
- US case "poses no risk to the public", Massachusetts Department of Health says
Useful information on monkeypox
- Monkeypox: Everything you need to know
WHO calls emergency meeting to discuss monkeypox outbreak
The recent monkeypox outbreak began on 7 May, when the first European case was confirmed in an individual who returned to England from Nigeria. Since then over 100 cases have been confirmed outside of the area where it is endemic in Africa.
Scientists don't think that the virus evolve into a pandemic like covid-19, as it can't spread as easily.
Three monkeypox cases now indentified in Germany
German authorities announced Saturday that two more cases of monkeypox have been indentified, this time in Berlin. The new cases in the German captial bring the total up to three with the first case which was discovered in Munich the day before. Health officials expect more cases to be indentified in the coming days.
Second US case of monkeypox confirmed in New York City
New York State health officials have confirmed an unidentified resident of New York City has tested positive for the rare monkeypox virus. It's the state's first confirmed case and the second in the US. The patient in being isolated and undergoing treatment while authorities try to determine how the individual became infected.
US begins to moniter Monkeypox,
The CDC is currently testing another patient for Moneypox after a case was discovered in Massachusetts. Most experts agree that this is the worst outbreak in the western hemisphere since 2003 with more than 100 cases being reported in the United States and Europe. In 2003, the outbreak resulted from a group of prairie dogs that had been infected with the virus. However, this time around, many infectious disease experts "are stumped."
The World Health Organization has sent a response team to the United Kingdom, where cases have doubled in the last week. Unlike covid-19, most experts beleive that you must be in close contact with someone who has monkeypox to be ineffected because the virus is not transmitted through the air.
Monkeypox pandemic unlikely
While researchers aren’t completely ruling out a pandemic, they don’t think it is at all likely. “I don’t think the science points to that at this moment,” John Brownstein of Boston Childrens' Hospital told New Scientist. “It’s important not to put this on the same level as a novel coronavirus.”
What's behind the spike in monkeypox cases?
"Viruses are nothing new and expected," says Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada.
Rasmussen said a number of factors including increased global travel as well as climate change have accelerated the emergence and spread of viruses.
The world is also more on alert to new outbreaks of any kind in the wake of the covid pandemic, she said.
US and UK to roll out smallpox vaccine against monkeypox
The UK has begun to inoculate healthcare workers who may be at risk while caring for patients with the smallpox vaccine, which can also protect against monkeypox. The US government says it has enough smallpox vaccine stored in its Strategic National Stockpile (SNS) to vaccinate the entire US population.
There are antiviral drugs for smallpox that could also be used to treat monkeypox under certain circumstances, a spokesperson for the US Department of Health and Human Services said in a statement.
More broadly, health officials say that people should avoid close personal contact with someone who has a rash illness or who is otherwise unwell. People who suspect they have monkeypox should isolate and seek medical care.
US expects more monkeypox cases but says risk to public is low
Additional cases of monkeypox are likely to be detected in the United States but the risk to the general public is low at this time, a senior US administration official said on Friday.
The first case of monkeypox this year in the United States was confirmed on Wednesday by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The infected man had recently traveled to Canada.
"It is likely that there could be some additional cases detected in the coming days as surveillance and testing begin to work more actively to look for cases," the official told reporters.
"There appears to be a low risk to the general public at this time," the official added.
WHO issues statement on monkeypox
"WHO and partners are working to better understand the extent and cause of an outbreak of monkeypox. The virus is endemic in some animal populations in a number of countries, leading to occasional outbreaks among local people and travelers. The recent outbreaks reported across 11 countries so far are atypical, as they are occurring in non-endemic countries.
"There are about 80 confirmed cases so far, and 50 pending investigations. More cases are likely to be reported as surveillance expands."
Researchers have identified a number of cases of monkeypox in the United States and Europe in recent weeks, raising concern that the viral disease is becoming more transmissible.
Normally monkeypox is only found in West and Central Africa, rarely spreading outside of the continent, but cases have been reported or suspected in the United Kingdom, Portugal, Spain and the United States.
According to the BBC, there have now been 80 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in 12 countries worldwide, with another 50 suspected cases being looked into by the WHO. So far, cases have been confirmed in nine European countries, as well as the US, Canada and Australia.
Monkeypox outbreak in Europe 'largest ever'
More than 100 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Europe, with German officials describing the outbreak as the largest ever in the region.
Cases have now been confirmed in countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, the United States and Australia.
First identified in monkeys, the disease typically spreads through close contact and has rarely spread outside Africa, so this series of cases has triggered concern.
However, scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like covid-19, given the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2.
Monkeypox is usually a mild viral illness, characterised by symptoms of fever as well as a distinctive bumpy rash.
"With several confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, this is the largest and most widespread outbreak of monkeypox ever seen in Europe," said Germany's armed forces' medical service, which detected its first case in the country on Friday.
Fabian Leendertz, from the Robert Koch Institute, described the outbreak as an epidemic.
"However it is very unlikely that this epidemic will last long. The cases can be well isolated via contact tracing and there are also drugs and effective vaccines that can be used if necessary," he said.
How dangerous is monkeypox?
Researchers in Europe and the United States have recorded higher than normal numbers of monkeypox infections in recent weeks, unusual given that the virus is typically only found in areas of Africa. The response has been one of caution as scientists study the reasons for the outbreak and whether the virus poses a threat to the public at large.
However for now it is not thought that the virus is capable of rapid transmission in the same way that covid-19 is, and so it does not appear to be anyway near as threatening.
In recent weeks there have been a small number of confirmed cases of monkeypox, a viral disease usually only found in Africa, in Europe and further afield. Health experts have reiterated that there is no danger to the public as it stands, but the wider spread of the disease may suggest that it is now able to pass between people more efficiently than before.
On Wednesday the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that its labs confirmed the presence of monkeypox in the United States, but how many cases have there been so far?
Is there a cure for monkeypox?
On Wednesday health officials confirmed that a Massachusetts resident had tested positive for monkeypox, a viral disease rarely found outside of Western and Central Africa.
It was the first such case recorded in the United States this year but similar discoveries in Europe, particularly in the United Kingdom, suggest that the virus may be becoming more transmissible.
The risk to the public is incredibly small and cases remain extremely rare, but in Africa studies have found that the virus causes death in as many as one in ten people infected with the virus. There are currently no specific treatments available for monkeypox infection.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral infection first discovered in monkeys in the late 1950s - hence the name. The first human case was recorded in 1970, in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Monkeypox occurs chiefly in west and central African countries, and has symptoms “similar to but milder than the symptoms of smallpox”, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says.
According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox is chiefly transmitted “from direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of infected animals”.
The WHO describes transmission of monkeypox between humans as “relatively limited”, noting that the longest documented chain of person-to-person transmission is six people.
“Infection can result from close contact with respiratory secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or recently contaminated objects,” the WHO says. “Transmission via droplet respiratory particles usually requires prolonged face-to-face contact, which puts health workers and household members of active cases at greater risk.”
Monkeypox outbreak, live updates: welcome
Hello and welcome to our live blog for Saturday 21 May on the outbreak of monkeypox, of which just under 40 confirmed or suspected cases have been reported across the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal. One case has also been confirmed in the United States.