Dutch Monkeypox cases more than double to 26, says RIVM
Some 26 residents of the Netherlands have now tested positive for monkeypox, said Dutch public health institute RIVM. The announcement on Monday was more than double the total revealed in the last update five days earlier, when 12 people were known to be infected with the virus. The first case diagnosed in the Netherlands was announced on May 20.
There are two known strains of the monkeypox virus, and both originate in Africa. The virus has been spreading in an outbreak across Europe. Many of those infected have not recently set foot in Africa, and have not had a direct connection to someone who spent time there in the past few months.
Although anyone can catch the monkeypox virus, many of those infected in Europe are men who have sexual contact with men. Several of those who tested positive in the Netherlands visited the Darklands Festival, a leather and fetish event in Belgium. The event is inclusive for people of diverse sexualities and genders, but mainly focuses on the gay male community.
It is not known how many of the Dutch infections are linked directly to that festival, or how many close contacts of attendees were later infected. The RIVM previously said that infections that occurred at Darklands might not be diagnosed until the end of May, due to the incubation period of the virus.
Monkeypox causes fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, and back pain, as well as a rash comprised of lesions which become blisters. Though the disease is typically mild, it can be dangerous. The infected person is still contagious until the last scab has naturally fallen from where the blisters appeared.
As this can take up to three weeks, those infected are told to isolate from others. Their close contacts are also quarantined as a precaution.
The GGD will offer the smallpox vaccine to anyone in close contact with someone who tests positive for monkeypox. The jab was given out as part of the normal vaccination course to people born before 1974, according to ANP. It also offers protection against the monkeypox virus.