More than 70 confirmed cases of monkeypox in Europe, with France and Germany seeing the first cases

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More than 70 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been identified in Europe as of Friday, according to researchers tracking the virus, as the World Health Organization convened an emergency meeting to understand the virus’s spread beyond its traditional base in Africa.

tracking from A team of academics Working with data initiative Global.Health showed that the majority of confirmed cases were found in Spain, followed by England and Portugal. Outside of Europe, confirmed cases have also been found in Australia, Canada and the United States. Globally, there have been more than 50 suspected cases that have yet to be confirmed.

Monkeypox, a sometimes serious disease that can be transmitted to animals and humans, is usually found in central and western Africa. But the virus has now been seen far from the continent. Although the virus is not often fatal and does not spread as easily as the coronavirus, new cases of monkeypox raise important questions about how to infect patients far from Africa.

On Friday, a WHO committee called the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group on Infectious Risks of a Pandemic and Possible Epidemic is scheduled to meet to discuss cases. WHO spokesman Tarik Yasarevich said the WHO was holding meetings “on a daily basis” with experts from affected countries and others in the global health community.

The move comes as Germany, France and Belgium also confirmed their first cases of monkeypox, joining a growing list of countries where cases of the rare viral disease have emerged outside the disease’s typical region in recent days.

What is monkeypox, a rare virus now confirmed in the United States and Europe?

The first case in Germany was recorded in Bavaria on Thursday, according to the Bundeswehr Institute for Microbiology, a military research facility of the German armed forces.

“The Institute of Microbiology of the German Armed Forces in Munich has now discovered the monkeypox virus beyond reasonable doubt for the first time in Germany on May 19, 2022 in a patient with characteristic skin lesions,” a statement from the medical service read.

the patient is 26-year-old man from Brazil who were traveling in Germany, according to a statement from the Bavarian Ministry of Health. The man had traveled through Portugal and Spain before entering Germany and visited Dusseldorf and Frankfurt before arriving in Munich, where he was spending about a week, according to the statement.

German Health Minister Karl Lauterbach said Friday that it is only a “matter of time” before monkeypox makes its way into the country, according to state radio. Deutsche Welle. Lauterbach said he was confident that an outbreak of a virus that did not appear to transmit easily could be contained if authorities moved quickly.

“We will now analyze the virus more closely and study whether it includes a more contagious type,” Lauterbach said, according to Reuters.

The French Ministry of Health confirmed the first case of monkeypox in the country on Friday in the Ile-de-France region, which includes Paris. The agency said in a statement that a 29-year-old man is not in serious condition but is self-isolating at home. Although the man has not recently traveled to a country where monkeypox is already common, health authorities have launched a full investigation into the case, according to the French Ministry of Health.

In Belgium, officials at Universitair Ziekenhuis Leuven said they had confirmed two cases of monkeypox in the country with complete genome sequencing.

“People who recognize infections like the one in this photo should contact their doctor,” Virologist Mark Van Ranst wrote in a tweet On Friday mornings, he shared pictures of the characteristic pests of monkeypox.

Spokesman The Belgian Health and Welfare Agency told Reuters That the first infected person was diagnosed in Antwerp. The person was not seriously ill and is now isolated with his partner. Van Ranst wrote on Twitter that the second patient was a man diagnosed in Flemish Brabant.

Flemish broadcaster VRTNWS reported Friday that although the two patients were diagnosed in different parts of the country, they may have attended the same party.

Belgian Health Minister Frank Vandenbroek said the government is closely monitoring the situation. “Does this mean we now have to fear an outbreak here? We don’t think so,” Vandenbrooke Tell VRTNWS. “But as always, you have to be careful and foreseeable.”

Although most confirmed cases have so far been found in Europe, researchers in North America and Australia have also reported cases.

Canada’s top public health official, Theresa Tam, said Friday that the country has confirmed two cases of monkeypox and that “fewer than a few dozen” suspected cases are being investigated in Quebec and British Columbia. “We don’t know the extent of the virus in Canada,” Tam told reporters at a news conference in Ottawa.

“So far, we know there aren’t many of these associated with travel to Africa where the disease is seen naturally, so this is unusual.”

Mylene Drouin, Montreal’s director of public health, said Thursday that the first suspected cases of monkeypox in the area were reported on May 12 by clinics specializing in sexually transmitted diseases, even though symptoms began weeks earlier.

She said the suspected cases were men between the ages of 30 and 55 who had sex with other men. She said most cases were not severe and that the disease was not sexually transmitted but spread through close contact.

Canadian public health officials said labs have not yet finished genetic sequencing of samples and that one question is the role of asymptomatic transmission. They said the risk to the general population is believed to be low, but they stressed the need to be open to the possibility that the virus has changed or evolved in some way.

“The fact that it’s showing up now in many countries in Europe as well as here in Canada — we need to know more about it,” Howard Ngo, Canada’s deputy chief of public health, said on Friday. “Has it evolved? Has it changed into something different in terms of transmission and so on?”