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Belgium introduces mandatory quarantine for monkeypox as cases rise globally

This 1971 CDC handout photo of a girl in Bondois, Liberia, shows lesions that look like monkeypox on her arm and leg.

CDC | Getty Images

Belgium has become the first country to introduce a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients as cases of the disease, normally endemic in Africa, are spreading around the world.

Belgian health authorities introduced the measures on Friday after a third case of the virus was reported. As of Monday, four local cases have been reported in the country; the number of confirmed global infections is currently around 100.

Belgian coercive measures apply only to patients with confirmed infection. Close contacts are not required to self-isolate, but they are advised to remain vigilant, especially when in contact with vulnerable people.

“Infected persons will be required to remain in contact isolation until their injuries have healed (they will receive specific instructions about this from the attending physician),” the translated version of the government message says.

Meanwhile UK said those at high risk Those infected should self-isolate for 21 days. This includes household contacts or healthcare workers who may have come into contact with an infected patient.

What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus, part of the smallpox family, with symptoms including rash, fever, headaches, muscle pain, swelling and back pain.

Although smallpox is usually less severe than smallpox, health experts are increasingly concerned about the origin of the recent outbreak, which began in early May in countries outside of Central and West Africa.

Health authorities, including the US Centers for Disease and Infection Control and UK health protection agencysaid they noted a particular concentration of cases among men who have sex with men and urged gay and bisexual men in particular to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions.

As of Saturday, World Health Organization reported that 92 cases had been reported in 12 countries, with a further 28 suspected cases under investigation. There are confirmed cases in the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, Portugal and the Netherlands.

This Centers for Disease Control and Prevention handout illustration shows the symptoms of one of the first known cases of monkeypox virus on a patient’s hand on May 27, 2003.

CDC | Getty Images

The public health authority said the recent reported cases did not involve travel from endemic African countries, which is unusual for the disease. It is usually spread through person-to-person or person-to-animal contact.

“Epidemiological investigations are ongoing, but reported cases so far have not been associated with travel to endemic areas,” the WHO said in a statement. The statement is posted on his website. Saturday.

“Based on currently available information, cases have been primarily, but not exclusively, among men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care at primary health care and sexual health clinics,” the report reads. message.

New cases of monkeypox likely

The recent surge in the incidence of the disease among the population, especially in urban areas, is now raising concerns about a wider outbreak.

“The fact that this has surfaced now – more than 100 cases in 12 different countries with no obvious link – means we have to find out exactly what’s going on,” Seth Berkley, CEO of the Gavi Global Vaccine Alliance, told CNBC on Monday.

“The truth is we don’t know what it is and therefore how severe it will be. But it is likely that we will see more cases,” he said.

Although most cases of monkeypox are mild and usually resolve within 2–4 weeksthere is currently no proven vaccine. The smallpox vaccine has been shown to be 85% effective in preventing infection, and some countries already started dose accumulation.

Berkeley warned that the new outbreak, which occurred even when the existing coronavirus pandemic was “not over yet,” was a warning to authorities to invest more resources in the fight against infectious diseases. He spoke on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, where this week political and business leaders gathered to discuss key global issues, including pandemic preparedness.

“It is evolutionarily clear that we will see more outbreaks,” he said. “This is why pandemic preparedness is so important. See what it can do economically when you face a pandemic.”

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