The disease begins with symptoms such as fever, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes before causing a chickenpox-like rash.
Health authorities in North America and Europe have detected dozens of suspected or confirmed cases of monkeypox since early May, raising concerns about the spread of the endemic disease in parts of Africa.
Canada was the latest country to report it was investigating more than a dozen suspected cases of monkeypox, after Spain and Portugal detected more than 40 possible and verified cases.
Britain has confirmed nine cases since May 6 and the United States verified its first on Wednesday, saying a man in the eastern state of Massachusetts tested positive for the virus after he visited Canada.
The disease, from which most people recover within weeks and has only been fatal in rare cases, has infected thousands of people in parts of central and west Africa in recent years, but is rare in Europe and in North Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday it was coordinating with British and European health authorities over new outbreaks.
“We really need to better understand the extent of monkeypox in endemic countries…to really understand how much is circulating and the risk it poses to people living there, as well as the risk of export” , infectious disease epidemiologist Dr Maria Van Kerkhove told a WHO press conference on global health issues on Tuesday.
The first case in Britain was someone who had traveled from Nigeria, although later cases may have been community transmitted, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said in a statement.
“These latest cases, together with case reports from countries across Europe, confirm our initial concerns that monkeypox could spread within our communities,” said UKHSA’s Chief Medical Adviser. , Dr. Susan Hopkins.
“Anyone can spread monkeypox through contact with bodily fluids, monkeypox sores, or shared objects (such as clothing and bedding) that have been contaminated with body fluids or sores. ‘a person with monkeypox,’ the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said. a statement said Wednesday, adding that household disinfectants can kill the virus on surfaces.
The disease often begins with flu-like symptoms such as fever, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes before causing a chickenpox-like rash on the face and body, the US agency explained.
The Massachusetts Department of Health said the case there — the first confirmed this year in the United States — occurred in a patient who had recently traveled to Canada and “presents no risk to the public, and the individual is hospitalized and in good condition.”
Health authorities in the Canadian province of Quebec have announced they are investigating at least 13 suspected cases of monkeypox, public broadcaster CBC reported on Wednesday.
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The cases were reported to Montreal authorities after diagnoses were made at several clinics specializing in sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) told CBC it has called on “public health authorities and laboratory partners across Canada to be vigilant and investigate any potential cases.”
According to the CDC, no cases of monkeypox were reported for 40 years before it reappeared in Nigeria in 2017.