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The United States (US), Spain, and Portugal have identified monkeypox cases in their countries. On May 7, 2022, the United Kingdom had its first patient with this rare disease. Since then the country has discovered 7 additional cases.
On May 17, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) expressed its concerns over the virus’s undetected spread. Experts were worried the outbreak could spread past the U.K’s borders.
A day later Portugal announced it has five confirmed cases and over 20 probable cases they are investigating. That same day Spain announced they had 23 individuals who showed monkeypox symptoms.
The rare disease is not easily transmittable from person to person. However, there are some ways that it can be passed from human to human. Usually, this consists of prolonged face-to-face contact as it can be exchanged through large respiratory droplets, according to the CDC. Monkeypox can also be passed through direct contact with lesions, bodily fluids, or items the infected person touched, like bedding or clothing.
The virus can be passed from animals, like rodents, to humans through scratches. Another way a person can contract monkeypox is by preparing bush meat or hunting wild animals.
Health officials are perplexed by how people are contracting the virus. There is some concern that monkeypox may be spreading – undetected – throughout the community and possibly in a new route of transmission.
The virus can be a nasty disease, which causes a fever, body aches, enlarged lymph nodes, and eventually “pox” or painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, hands, and feet.
There is one version of the virus that is quite deadly and kills up to 10% of people infected. The strain that is infecting England is milder. It has a fatality rate of less than 1%.
People who contract monkeypox usually feel better within two to four weeks.
JUST IN: A Massachusetts resident has tested positive for monkeypox, the state health department confirms. https://t.co/0RBA2F11Rb
— ABC News (@ABC) May 18, 2022
Written by Sheena Robertson
NPR: Rare monkeypox outbreak in U.K., Europe and U.S.: What is it and should we worry? By Michaeleen Doucleff
NBC News: Monkeypox case identified in Massachusetts as outbreak grows in Europe; by Aria Bendix