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Belgium introduces mandatory monkeypox quarantine as global cases increase

In this 1971 Center for Disease Control handout photo, monkeypox-like lesions are shown on the arms and legs of a female child in Bondua, Liberia.

CDC | beautiful pictures

Belgium has become the first country to introduce a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients because of cases of the disease – often endemic to Africa – spread globally.

Health authorities in Belgium introduce the sixth measure after reporting its third case of the virus. As of Monday, the country has recorded four local cases; There are currently around 100 confirmed global infections.

The Belgian mandatory measures apply only to patients with confirmed infection. Close contacts are not required to self-isolate but are encouraged to remain vigilant, especially if in contact with vulnerable people.

“Infected people will have to isolate their contacts until the wound heals (they will receive specific instructions about this from the treating doctor),” a translation of the government notice said.

The UK meanwhile has said people at high risk Due to illness, self-quarantine for 21 days. That includes household contacts or medical professionals who may have been in contact with an infected patient.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus – part of the smallpox family – with symptoms including a rash, fever, headache, muscle pain, swelling and back pain.

Although usually less severe than smallpoxHealth professionals are increasingly concerned about the origins of the recent outbreak, which began in early May, in countries outside Central and West Africa.

Health authorities, including the United States Centers for Disease Control and Infection and of Great Britain Health Security Agencysays it has noted a particular concentration of cases of men who have sex with men, and recommends that gay and bisexual men in particular be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions. any.

Since Saturday, World Health Organization reported that there are 92 cases in 12 countries, and 28 suspected cases are under investigation. The US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands all have confirmed cases.

In this Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout, symptoms of one of the first known cases of monkeypox virus are displayed on the hand of a patient on May 27. 5 year 2003.

CDC | beautiful pictures

The public health authority said the recently reported cases had no link to travel from endemic African countries, which is unusual for the disease. It is usually spread by person-to-person or person-to-animal contact.

WHO said in a statement posted on its website Saturday.

“Based on currently available information, cases are primarily but not exclusively identified in men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care clinics. and sexual health,” it added.

More cases of monkeypox

The recent increase in community cases, especially in urban areas, is raising fears of a broader outbreak.

Seth Berkley, CEO of the global vaccine alliance Gavi, told CNBC on Monday: “Let it show up right now – over 100 cases in 12 different countries with no clear link. clear – which means we have to figure out exactly what’s going on.

“The truth is we don’t know what it is and therefore how serious it will be. But it is likely that we will have more cases,” he said.

Although most cases of monkeypox are mild and usually resolves within 2 to 4 weeksnow available There is no proven vaccine. Smallpox vaccine has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing infection, and some countries started dose reserve.

Berkley warned that the new outbreak, which occurs even before the current coronavirus pandemic is over, is a warning to authorities to invest more resources in infectious diseases. He said on the sidelines of World Economic Forum in Davos, where political and business leaders have gather this week on important global issues, including pandemic preparedness.

“It is an evolutionary certainty that we will see more outbreaks,” he said. “That’s why being prepared for a pandemic is so important. Look at what it can do economically when you’re hit by a pandemic.”

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