Netherlands 5th worst in Europe for monkeypox infections; Dutch total at 1,136
The Netherlands has one of the highest total number of confirmed monkeypox cases in all of Europe. The country ranked fifth according to a report on the situation released on Wednesday by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and the WHO Regional Office for Europe.
Spain by far has the most diagnosed cases of the infection, with 6,283, compared to any other country on the continent. That was followed by the United Kingdom (3,340), Germany (3,329), and France (2,889).
When the report was released, the Dutch total stood at 1,090. That figure rose on Thursday to 1,136 in data released by the RIVM, the country’s public health institute. That reflected a 4 percent increase in a week. The number of infections was 818 one month ago.
The RIVM said the number of infections diagnosed last week was a sign that the spread of monkeypox may be levelling off. The increase of 46 total infections was the lowest reported in a week since mid-June, shortly before numbers climbed towards a peak a month later. Thus far, the most cases in the Netherlands have been found in the combined region of Noord-Holland and Flevoland, where 671 people have tested positive for monkeypox. That was followed by 186 in Regio West, which includes a large part of the Randstad south of Schiphol Airport.
The Netherlands is vaccinating high-risk people against monkeypox using two doses of the Imvanex smallpox vaccine. For the week ending on 17 August, 2,840 people received a jab, and 3,465 others were vaccinated the week before that. Almost 2,000 people got their first shot in the first few days after they became available. The most vaccinations have been given in the Amsterdam region, which accounts for a third of all jabs.
Primary indications of monkeypox include a rash that looks like red spots, bumps, or blisters. General symptoms include a fever, headache, muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and fatigue. “For some people monkeypox starts with general complaints and the skin rash follows, for others it is the opposite. In the current outbreak we are seeing proctitis in a number of people, a painful inflammation of the mucous membrane of the rectum (the last part of the intestine),” the RIVM stated.
The rash and blistering caused by monkeypox can also be quite painful. Eventually, the pox dry up, and remaining scabs fall off after a few weeks.
Generally, monkeypox is passed through close contact with others. Though many infections have been spread among men who have sex with other men, it can also be spread through contact with clothing, bed linen, and other contaminated material.
“Anyone can get monkeypox and the virus affects all age groups,” the RIVM said. The incubation period is about 8.5 days on average, but symptoms can take up to three weeks to develop. People who test positive are told to remain in isolation until all symptoms have passed and the last remaining scab has disappeared.