Monkeypox outbreak in Europe ‘largest ever’
More than 100 cases of monkeypox have been reported in Europe, with German officials describing the outbreak as the largest ever in the region.
Cases have now been confirmed in countries including the United Kingdom, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, the United States and Australia.
First identified in monkeys, the disease typically spreads through close contact and has rarely spread outside Africa, so this series of cases has triggered concern.
However, scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic like covid-19, given the virus does not spread as easily as SARS-COV-2.
Monkeypox is usually a mild viral illness, characterised by symptoms of fever as well as a distinctive bumpy rash.
“With several confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, this is the largest and most widespread outbreak of monkeypox ever seen in Europe,” said Germany’s armed forces’ medical service, which detected its first case in the country on Friday.
Fabian Leendertz, from the Robert Koch Institute, described the outbreak as an epidemic.
“However it is very unlikely that this epidemic will last long. The cases can be well isolated via contact tracing and there are also drugs and effective vaccines that can be used if necessary,” he said.