- Over 130 cases of monkeypox have been reported from around 19 countries.
- The most common symptoms of monkeypox include an acute unexplained rash, fever, headache, and profound weakness
- Some cases of monkeypox have no direct travel links to an endemic area
Monkeypox (MPX), a zoonotic viral disease, is rapidly spreading to countries around the globe. According to media reports, more than 130 cases of MPX have been reported from around 19 countries worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) is anticipating more cases of the illness to come to light as surveillance expands in non-endemic countries.
What’s surprising about these cases is that some confirmed and suspected cases of MPX have no direct travel links to an endemic area.
Scenario in Australia
On Friday, Australia reported its first case of MPX in a traveller. The person has recently returned from Britain and is a probable case of infection.
States and territories are urging physicians to be on the lookout for more possible cases and to report any suspected cases to their local state and territory authorities as soon as possible so that a public health response may be launched.
Europe reports over 65 confirmed cases
As of 23 May 2022, 67 confirmed cases were reported from nine EU Member States (Belgium, Austria, France, Italy, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, and the Netherlands), and at least 42 suspected cases were under investigation.
How is the monkeypox virus transmitted?
Contact through skin lesions of infected person, respiratory droplets and fomites are some of the common modes of transmission. However, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) stated that MPX does not spread easily among human beings. Based on its epidemiological assessment, the likelihood of MPX spreading in persons having multiple sexual partners in the EU/EEA is considered high.
Past records have shown a 0-11% fatality ratio of the disease in the general population, with a higher number reported in children.
No proven treatment till date
Currently, there is no proven safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. Historically, vaccination against smallpox had demonstrated effectiveness against MPX. While one vaccine (MVA-BN) and one specific treatment (tecovirimat) were approved for monkeypox in 2019 and 2022 respectively, these are not yet widely available.