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Spread of Monkeypox in Europe and North America - Update
Health authorities in Portugal have confirmed 5 cases of monkeypox infection. All the cases occurred in the Lisbon area. It is not clear if these cases are contacts of the cases reported earlier in the United Kingdom. At the same time, health personnel in Spain are investigating 23 who have symptoms compatible with monkeypox infections, Confirmatory laboratory results are pending. All the suspected cases were reported from the Madrid area.
In Canada, health officials in Montreal, Quebec, are investigating at least 13 suspected cases of monkeypox. There are no details regarding possible exposure sites or how these cases became infected if they are confirmed by laboratory results.
In the United States, health authorities in the state of Massachusetts have confirmed a case of monkeypox in a person who had travelled to Montreal, Quebec.
Travellers are at low risk of exposure since monkeypox is a relatively rare disease caused by a virus that is closely related to the smallpox virus. Infection with monkeypox is not as serious as smallpox, but human deaths have occurred. The virus is transmitted by the bite of infected rodents or from person to person through respiratory or direct contact with an infected person.
The symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, backaches, swollen lymph nodes and a fluid filled rash, starting on the face. Eventually, the rash becomes crusty and the scabs will fall off. The illness usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks.
Preventive measures include washing hands often and avoiding contact with wild animals and products made from wild animals. Furthermore, international travelers should also avoid contact with people who are sick.
Recently, a new vaccine called JYNNEOS (IMVANEX, IMVAMUNE) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in people who may be at high risk of exposure to this infection. However, it is available only from authorized providers and limited to adults 18 years of age and older.