Monkeypox virus latest news: UK offers smallpox vaccine as cases spread across world

Monkeypox: What we know about the smallpox-like virus spreading in Europe, the US and Canada

Healthcare workers have been offered the smallpox vaccine in the UK as monkeypox cases spread further across the globe.

Two more cases of the West African strain were reported in Britain on Thursday, taking the total to nine.

Australia on Friday reported its first monkeypox case detected in a traveler who recently returned from Britain. Canada, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain have all also reported their first cases in recent days.

While there is no specific vaccine for the disease, a smallpox jab does offer some protection, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

The inoculation has been offered to some healthcare workers and others who may have been exposed to the disease.

Monkeypox is a usually mild viral illness, characterized by symptoms of fever as well as a distinctive bumpy rash.

There are two main strains: the Congo strain, which is more severe – with up to 10 per cent mortality – and the West African strain, which has a fatality rate of about 1 per cent.


Montreal investigating 17 suspected cases

Montreal public health officials are investigating 17 suspected cases of monkeypox infections.

A US case was identified by Massachusetts public health officials on Wednesday in a man who had recently traveled to the Canadian province of Quebec.

Dr Mylene Drouin, public health director of Montreal, said the cases were not considered severe and were mainly among men who had had sexual relations with men, between 30 to 55 years old.

While public health officials hope to have laboratory confirmation by the weekend, Dr Drouin said there was a good chance cases were due to monkeypox.

“The more that we see the evolution of what’s happening around the world, and the link that we have with the case in the US, we suspect that it’s a strong possibility,” she said.

Dr Genevieve Bergeron, a medical officer for health emergencies and infectious diseases, said the first suspected case was reported on 12 May.

Chiara Giordano20 May 2022 11:37


Germany announces first monkeypox case

Germany has detected its first case of monkeypox.

The German armed forces’ medical service said in a statement: “The Institute for Microbiology of the German Armed Forces in Munich has now also detected the monkeypox virus beyond doubt for the first time in Germany on 19 May 2022 in a patient with characteristic skin lesions .”

Chiara Giordano20 May 2022 11:27


Spain reports 14 more cases

Spain has reported 14 more cases of monkeypox today, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 21, regional health authors in Madrid said.

Chiara Giordano20 May 2022 11:07


UK offers smallpox vaccine

UK healthcare workers have been offered the smallpox vaccine as monkeypox cases spread further across the globe.

Data shows vaccines that were used to eradicate smallpox are up to 85 per cent effective against monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization.

A UKHSA spokesperson said “those who have required the vaccine have been offered it”, without disclosing specifics on how many people have been vaccinated so far.

Some countries have large stockpiles of the smallpox vaccine as part of pandemic preparedness, including the United States.

Chiara Giordano20 May 2022 10:50


Virus spreads across the globe

A number of countries have reported their first cases of monkeypox since yesterday, including Australia, Canada, Belgium, France, Italy and Spain.

Australia today reported its first monkeypox case in a traveler who recently returned from Britain, while a probable case of infection was identified with testing being carried out to confirm it.

A man in his 30s who arrived in Melbourne on Monday has the virus, Victoria state’s health department said, while the probable case was identified in Sydney in a man in his 40s who had recently traveled to Europe.

Both men developed mild illness after arriving back in Australia with symptoms clinically compatible with monkeypox, health officials said.

Canada’s public health agency on Thursday confirmed the first two cases of monkeypox infections in the country after authorities in Quebec province said they were investigating 17 suspected cases.

Belgian health experts are due to meet today after the country detected its first two cases.

French health authorities today confirmed a first case of monkeypox virus in the Paris region, several French media outlets reported, one day after news of a first suspected case emerged.

Italy diagnosed its first case of the monkeypox infection at the Spallanzani hospital in Rome, the hospital said on Thursday, adding that the person, who arrived from a stay on the Canary Islands, was being kept in isolation.

The hospital added there were two other suspected cases that had yet to be confirmed.

Health authorities in Portugal identified nine new cases of the viral infection, taking the total to 14, while in Spain authorities on Thursday reported its first seven cases.

Chiara Giordano20 May 2022 10:45


Good morning and welcome to The Independent‘s monkeypox live blog.

We’ll bring you all the latest updates as the disease continues to spread across the globe.

Chiara Giordano20 May 2022 10:37

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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