Monkeypox: “No reason for panic”

A fourth case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Belgium.  The patient, who is being treated in Wallonia, has been linked to the Darklands fetish festival staged in Antwerp earlier in the month.  Two other cases have also been connected with this event.

Virologist Marc Van Ranst (Leuven University) is calling on everybody who attended the festival to be vigilant and head for A&E if they come down with monkeypox lesions: “A sample can be taken at an A&E.  Patients should avoid close contact with others”.

Virologist Piet Maes (Leuven University) says there is no need for concern about a major outbreak of monkeypox in his country.  Over 50s enjoy protection as a result of small pox vaccination that continued to 1981.  For all others the risk is rather small.

“Worldwide there is a cluster of several hundred cases.  That is exceptional.  In Congo there are usually around several thousand cases each year, but it’s exceptional that the virus surfaces in Europe”.

“It’s a particularly interesting scientific phenomenon, but there’s no need to get worried.  You have to take it seriously.  It is a serious disease, but there’s no reason for panic”.

Most over 50s were vaccinated in their youth.  Vaccination for younger people could follow at some time, but with a handful of cases there is no reason to do this now. Vaccination is only needed if cases rise exponentially”.

“There’s talk of vaccination in the UK and Spain but they are facing far more cases”.

People with monkeypox lesions must isolate until all lesions heal.  Otherwise they can infect others.

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