The outbreaks of the monkey pox virus were previously more common in the west and central Africa – but recently, countries like Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Sweden, Canada, and the U.S. have already reported cases over the past week. On Friday, France, Germany, Belgium, and Australia reported their first infections.
However, according to Reuters, scientists do not expect the outbreak to evolve into a pandemic, like COVID-19, due to how the virus is spread.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is currently working with the affected countries and others to expand disease surveillance to find and support people who may be affected, and to provide guidance on how to manage the disease.
Health officials in the United Kingdom are continuously investigating whether the disease is being sexually transmitted, as several cases were reportedly spread among gay and bisexual men in London. Monkey pox has not previously been documented to have spread through sex, but can be transmitted through close contact with infected people or contaminated materials.
The virus, which is from the same family of viruses as smallpox, enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, or the eyes, nose, or mouth. It is usually spread by touching or getting bitten by infected wild animals in the west and central Africa.
To date, no one has died in the outbreak, but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 1 in 10 people who contract the disease.
While several measures can be taken to prevent infection with the monkeypox virus, including avoiding contact with animals that could carriers the virus and any materials that have been in contact with a sick animal, there is currently no proven safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection.
Meanwhile, the Department of Health (DOH) has not reported any cases of monkeypox in the Philippines yet. According to experts, travelers from countries with recorded monkeypox cases and manifesting symptoms should be isolated to prevent a possible spread of the disease.