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Case of monkeypox diagnosed in Belgium

For the first time since the start of the recent outbreak of monkeypox a patient from Belgium has been diagnosed with the virus. Speaking in the VRT’s late evening television news programme ‘Laat’, Isabel Brosius of the Institute for Tropical Medicine in Antwerp confirmed that after several dozen people having become infected in countries in Europe and North America, a case of monkeypox has now surfaced here in Belgium. Why what is normally an extremely rare virus now appears to be spreading more widely is still a mystery. 

Since the start of the month people in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Canada and the United States have been diagnosed as having monkeypox. Now Belgium has been added to the list of countries with cases of the virus.

Ms Brosius told VRT News that "It is someone that came to us in Antwerp with a medical complaint. Samples were taken and sent for analysis at a lab in The Netherlands. This evening we received confirmation that it is the monkeypox virus. The person concerned is not seriously ill”.

It is likely that there is a second case, the partner of the person already diagnosed with the virus. They have similar symptoms. However, it still has to be confirmed as to whether they have monkeypox.

The infected person as been asked to isolate. "Based on the data currently available the contagiousness of the virus between people is limited. It spreads only after prolonged close contact. The chance that it will spread widely among the population is fairly small, but we are monitoring the situation closely”, Ms Brosius said.

As of yet no deaths from monkeypox have been reported in Europe. In Africa where the virus is much more prevalent the mortality rate among those infected with monkeypox varies between 1% and 11%. 

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