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First cases of monkeypox detected in Central Europe

monkeys

Prague, Czech Republic – The first few cases of monkeypox were detected in Central Europe as the Czech Republic, Austria and Slovenia confirmed the presence of the virus.

Monkeypox cases confirmed in Central Europe

On Tuesday, Czech officials confirmed the country’s first case of monkeypox in a patient returning from a festival in Antwerp, Belgium. She is now being treated at Prague’s Central Military Hospital.

Health authorities are also awaiting results from two other suspected cases in the Czech Republic.

After reporting its first confirmed cases on Monday, Austria published a set of guidelines and introduced a three-week quarantine to contacts of confirmed cases, but only if they are showing symptoms of monkeypox.

Slovenia has also confirmed its first case of the rare virus in a man returning from the Canary Islands. Health authorities said the person was infected with a mild version of the West African strain of the disease and did not need to be hospitalised.

Endemic in certain parts of central and western Africa, monkeypox was first found in monkeys in the late 1950’s. Although its transmission between people is rare, it can spread through close person-to-person contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, and contaminated items or materials such as bedding sheets or clothes.

Where has monkeypox been detected?

It is a rare viral disease with similarities to human smallpox, but usually with milder symptoms including fever, headaches, muscle pain and rash. Its incubation period in most cases lasts from 6 to 13 days, and most patients fully recover within two to four weeks. You can visit the WHO website for more details.

Over 100 cases have been reported in more than a dozen countries where monkeypox is not commonly found, including the US, Canada, Australia, Israel, the UK, France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Denmark.

Many of them – but not all – have been reported among men who’d recently had sex with other men.

“This is a containable situation,” assured WHO expert on emerging diseases Maria van Kerkhove. “But we can’t take our eye off the ball with what’s happening in Africa, where it’s endemic.”

Although its presence in several countries in Europe and North America is causing concern, health officials believe that the risk for the virus to spread widely in the general population remains low.

Headed by Kafkadesk's chief-editor Jules Eisenchteter, our Prague office gathers over half a dozen reporters, editors and contributors, as well as our social media team. It covers everything Czech and Slovak-related, and oversees operations from our other Central European desks in Krakow and Budapest.