Sixty cases of monkeypox now in the Netherlands
Sixty people in the Netherlands have tested positive for the monkeypox virus in recent weeks, according to the latest tally on Thursday. The week before, the counter stood at 40 cases. All known patients so far are men who have sex with other men, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said on Thursday.
Some of the infections can be traced back to an outbreak at the Belgian fetish festival Darklands. However, health authorities emphasize that anyone can get monkeypox after close contact with someone who is infected.
The virus, which originated in Africa, has been making rounds in mainly European countries for several weeks now. On May 20, it was reported for the first time that someone in the Netherlands had contracted the disease.
People can contract the virus through close skin contact with someone who carries it. In addition to characteristic bumps on the skin, patients may experience fever, headache, back pain and swollen lymph nodes. The course of the disease is usually quite mild, but with complications, the condition can be fatal.
People born before 1974 are still vaccinated against "normal" smallpox , which was still circulating in the world at the time. According to experts, that vaccine could also provide protection against monkeypox.
Anyone who tests positive for the disease must be in isolation. This means that the person is not allowed to have contact with others until the complaints are over. Close contacts, such as family members and sex partners, must be quarantined as a precaution. They can be offered a smallpox vaccine by the GGD, to reduce the chance of getting sick themselves.
Reporting by ANP