Monkeypox: Cases confirmed in more countries as UK number set to more than double TODAY

Monkeypox: Health agency urges people to look out for symptoms

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The monkeypox outbreak has spread to new countries, with a handful of cases now confirmed overseas. Experts have warned the new cases of the viral infection, which causes a distinctive bumpy rash, could cause widespread transmission if left unreported. Health authorities across the continent are piling up on the smallpox vaccine in a bid to contain the spread of the disease, with more cases set to be announced in the UK today.

Australia on Friday 20 May reported two cases of monkeypox, with one confirmed in a 30-year-old traveller who recently returned from his travels in Britain.

A second suspected case of the disease is currently being investigated, in a 40-year-old who had recently travelled to Europe.

It follows the confirmation of cases in the US, Spain and Portugal on Wednesday 28 May.

Canada’s public health agency confirmed two infections of the tropical virus after authorities in the Quebec province said they were investigating 17 suspected cases.

According to recent media reports, the latest European countries to report cases are France, Italy, Sweden, and Australia.

Read more: Monkeypox latest: Experts warn spread may become global as 2 more countries announce cases

Countries with confirmed or suspected cases of monkeypox:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Italy
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The recent surge of monkeypox cases marks the biggest outbreak Europe has ever seen.

The breakout is believed to have originated in the UK, where cases have now more than doubled, according to reports.

Eleven more cases of the virus are set to be announced today, according to The Times, adding to the nine confirmed to date.

While the virus is not viewed as a sexually transmitted disease, researchers suspect cases in the UK are being spread through physical contact.

Hussain Abdeh, Clinical Director and Superintendent Pharmacist at Medicine Direct, said: “The UK Health Security Agency has confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK.

“Reports state that the recent cases are mostly being seen in gay, bisexual men, or men who have sex with men.

“Monkeypox is not classed as a sexually transmitted disease, but the reports suggest that the spread has been caused by skin-on-skin contact with infected partners.

“Monkeypox can be transmitted through close contact with an infected person during sex.”

Although rare, the virus can also be transmitted from person to person through touching scabs or blisters on an infected person.

“You can also catch it through coughs or sneezes, and from touching clothing, towels or bedding used by someone who is infected,” added Mr Abdeh.

The condition, which is related to smallpox, shares many characteristics with the condition.

Common symptoms include headache, muscle ache, backache, fever, chills and exhaustion, but while monkeypox causes swollen lymph glands, smallpox does not.

“After a few days, it is usual to develop a rash, which often starts on the face and then spreads elsewhere,” explained Mr Abdeh.

“The rash begins with raised spots, which will then blisters and fill with fluid. Eventually, they will turn to scabs and fall off.

“Often, because of the appearance of the spots, monkeypox is often misdiagnosed as chickenpox.”

Although there are no specific treatments available for monkeypox, outbreaks can be controlled with the help of smallpox vaccines.

Health authorities in several European countries have reportedly purchased thousands of jabs to deal with the outbreak, according to the Spanish newspaper El País.

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