Monkeypox getting closer, but not yet in Netherlands: RIVM
The monkeypox virus has not yet been diagnosed in the Netherlands, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced. The virus is extremely rare in Europe but appeared in Italy, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, and Great Britain in recent weeks. The United States also reported cases of the virus.
Monkeypox occurs mainly in West- and Central Africa. It causes symptoms like fever, headaches, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue. Infected people may also develop a rash that spreads from the face or anus to the rest of the body.
The virus occurs naturally among animals but can also spread from human to human through skin-to-skin contact. Some current cases may involve men who became infected through sex with other men. The various clusters of infections are not known to be related to each other, and not all infected people have visited Africa.
The smallpox virus also protects against monkeypox, but the vaccine is no longer administered in the Netherlands because smallpox has almost completely disappeared due to vaccination. As a result, people under the age of 45 are especially at risk of contracting the monkeypox virus.
Virologist Marion Koopmans said on Thursday that the monkeypox outbreak is becoming alarming. Usually, when it occurs in Europe, it is an imported infection, and the spread stops fairly quickly. That new cases have surfaced in multiple countries is very unusual, Koopmans said.
Reporting by ANP