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Monkeypox: Why is it a concern and how is it treated?

health authorities in Europe, North America, Israel and Australia have identified more than 100 cases of monkeypox in the last few days.

health officials worldwide they are attentive to the appearance of more cases because, for the first time, this ailment seems to be spreading among people who have not traveled to Africa, where the disease is endemic. However, experts stress that the risk to the general population is low.

How worrying is the outbreak?

Any outbreak of an emerging virus is worrying, but the most cases have been mild and there have been no deaths so far.

Besides, the monkey pox requires very close contact to spread, so is not likely to cause large waves of disease like COVID-19which can be transmitted in the air by asymptomatic people.

However, Britain’s Health Security Agency has stated that it expects to see new infections “every day” and the WHO director for Europe has warned that the summer party season could spread the disease. Many of the cases being identified are unrelated to previous infections, suggesting the virus is already spreading widely.

On Tuesday, German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said the outbreak “is not the start of a new pandemic” but that it needs to be contained quickly.

What are the symptoms and how are they treated?

Most patients only experience fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue. People who are more severely affected may develop rashes and lesions on the face and hands that can spread to other parts of the body.

Most people recover within two to four weeks without needing to be hospitalized. Monkeypox can be fatal in up to 6 percent of cases and is believed to be more serious in children.

People exposed to the virus usually receive one of several smallpox vaccines, which have been shown to be effective against monkeypox. Antiviral drugs are also being developed.

The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control on Thursday recommended isolating all suspected cases and offering the smallpox vaccine to high-risk contacts.

The UK offers high-risk contacts the smallpox vaccine and recommends that anyone who may be infected isolate themselves until they recover.

The United States has 1,000 doses of an approved vaccine for the prevention of monkeypox and smallpox, in addition to more than 100 million doses of an older-generation smallpox vaccine in a government stockpile, officials said.

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