Monkeypox found in six people in the Netherlands so far, RIVM says
Monkeypox has now been diagnosed in six people in the Netherlands, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) reported on Monday. The institute confirmed the first monkeypox case in the Netherlands on Friday, and a second case was announced on Saturday.
So far, everyone those who has been diagnosed with the monkeypox virus are men who have had sex with other men. Some of the men attended the Darklands Festival in Belgium, which was previously identified as a possible source where the outbreak spread further. Darklands is a large leather and fetish festival predominantly, but not exclusively, focused on the gay male community. The event took place in Antwerp from 4 to 9 May.
The RIVM emphasized that the monkeypox virus does not only spread through sexual contact, and that the virus does not only cause infections in the gay community. The institute is continuing to analyze new possible cases together with the Erasmus MC hospital in Rotterdam. The number of cases in the Netherlands can continue to rise. The European health service, ECDC, reported on Monday that a total of 85 monkeypox cases have been identified in the European Union thus far.
No further information about the people in the Netherlands infected with monkeypox will be shared at this time, the RIVM said. The patients were asked to enter into isolation. The GGD is conducting source and contact studies, so that close contacts like housemates and sex partners can be warned.
People who contract the monkeypox virus may initially experience fever, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. After a few days they can also develop blisters on the skin. Someone with monkeypox will be contagious to others until the scabs have fallen off, the RIVM reported. That can take two to four weeks.
The vast majority of people recover on their own. The virus can be dangerous to people who already have a weakened immune system, as well as children and pregnant women.
Reporting by ANP