World Health Organization Warns Against Mass Gatherings as It Predicts That the Spread of Monkeypox Will Accelerate

UNDATED ? MAY 27: In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout graphic, symptoms of one of the first known cases of the monkeypox virus are shown on a patient?s hand May 27, 2003. The CDC said the viral disease monkeypox, thought to be spread by prairie dogs, has been detected in the Americas for the first time with about 20 cases reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana. (Photo Courtesy of CDC/Getty Images)

Europe should expect a wave of monkeypox cases in the coming months, according to Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s top official on the continent.

“As we enter the summer season… with mass gatherings, festivals and parties, I am concerned that transmission [of monkeypox] could accelerate,” Kluge said on Friday.

The number of the infected could rise because “the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity,” and many don’t recognize the symptoms, he added.

The current spread of the virus in Western Europe is “atypical” as it was previously confined mostly to central and west Africa, the WHO regional director for Europe added.

“All but one of the recent cases have no relevant travel history to areas where monkeypox is endemic,” Kluge said.

Dozens of cases of monkeypox – a disease that leaves distinctive pustules on skin but rarely results in fatalities – have been detected in the US, Canada and Australia as well as in the UK, France, Portugal, Sweden and other European countries.

The French, Belgian and German health authorities reported their first infections on Friday. In Belgium, the three confirmed cases of monkeypox were linked to a fetish festival in the city of Antwerp.

The rare virus was found in Israel on the same day, in a man who returned from the hotspot in Western Europe.

Most initial cases of monkeypox have been among gay or bisexual men who have had sex with other males.

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Source: RT