Health officials in 16 countries are “alarmed” at the number of new cases of a novel strain of monkeypox virus.
16 countries – including the United States, England, Spain, Italy, Belgium and Denmark have confirmed monkeypox infections among gay and bisexual men.
Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, weakness, and swollen lymph nodes (in neck, armpits and groin areas. Symptoms are followed by itchy blisters that burst and crust over.
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Health officials are “alarmed” at the “unprecedented” clusters of cases, which disproportionately affect men in the LGBT community.
Denmark is the latest to confirm a case in a man who recently returned from Spain.
The CDC first detected cluster cases of monkeypox virus in the United States in 2003. But the recent outbreaks are caused by a new strain that is spreading rapidly by sexual contact.
Despite the increase in cases, health experts insist monkeypox won’t spiral out of control like Covid-19, which shut down the world in 2020.
Through the first months of 2020, more than 4,500 monkeypox cases and 171 deaths have been tracked by the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity, and the symptoms are unfamiliar to many,” the WHO said in a statement.
EU health authorities are telling member states to prepare monkeypox vaccine plan.
No monkeypox virus exists, however, smallpox vaccine is reportedly 85% effective against monkeypox.
The White House said smallpox vaccines are on stockpile from previous monkeypox outbreaks. No mandatory lockdowns or other prevention measures are planned in the US.