By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
GENEVA/BUDAPEST (Worthy News) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) was in an emergency meeting Friday to discuss the “largest and most widespread” outbreak of monkeypox “ever seen in Europe” and North America.
In Britain alone, cases doubled with 11 more points of monkeypox Friday, confirmed British Health Secretary Sajid Javid citing the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA). Most patients were described as mild.
Infectious cases were reported in the U.S., Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, and Canada, mostly in young men who hadn’t previously traveled to disease-prone Africa.
Experts say the spread in Western nations marks an unusual international outbreak of a disease typically found in central and West Africa.
The WHO said it is holding daily meetings to deal with the crisis with health professionals from affected countries and others.
The outbreak is now the “largest and most widespread ever seen in Europe,” WHO officials said.
“I’m stunned by this. Every day I wake up, and there are more countries infected,” said Oyewale Tomori, a virologist who formerly headed the Nigerian Academy of Science.
He sits on several WHO advisory boards. “This is not the kind of spread we’ve seen in West Africa, so there may be something new in the West,” the official said.
Close contact with an infected individual is required for the spread of the monkeypox virus, according to experts.
Infection can develop after exposure to “broken skin, mucous membranes, respiratory droplets, infected body fluids or even contact with contaminated linen,” added Neil Mabbott, personal chair in immunopathology at the veterinary school of the University of Edinburgh in Scotland
The World Health Organization (WHO) said many cases reported have been in people identifying as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men.
There is an incubation period of some seven to 14 days, the CDC said. Initial symptoms are typically flu-like, such as fever, chills, exhaustion, headache, and muscle weakness, followed by swelling in the lymph nodes, which help the body fight infection and disease.
“A feature that distinguishes infection with monkeypox from that of smallpox is the development of swollen lymph nodes,” said the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Next comes a widespread rash on the face and body, including inside the mouth and the palms of the hands, and the soles of the feet.
The painful, raised poxes are pearly and fluid-filled, often surrounded by red circles. The lesions finally scab over and resolve over two to three weeks, the CDC explained.
However, there is now concern that many people will be affected in countries still reeling from the previous coronavirus pandemic.
If you are interested in articles produced by Worthy News, please check out our FREE sydication service available to churches or online Christian ministries. To find out more, visit Worthy Plugins.