(RxWiki News) Multiple countries that don't usually see monkeypox activity are reporting cases of the virus, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). That includes one case in the United States.
Monkeypox is not a new virus, but it is usually seen in small numbers in select parts of Africa. Recently, however, it has been seen in a dozen non-endemic countries.
As of publication time, those countries included the US, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Australia.
According to the WHO, there has so far not been a clear link between travel to areas where the virus is endemic and infection in other countries. Early and preliminary evidence has shown some but not all cases in "men who have sex with men (MSM) seeking care in primary care and sexual health clinics," the WHO reported.
Monkeypox is thought to be transmitted from animals to humans. Symptoms are similar to those of smallpox: exhaustion, chills, fever, headache, muscle aches, back aches and swollen lymph nodes, among other possible symptoms. The symptoms mirror some symptoms of smallpox, but they are typically less severe.
One of the most visible and difficult symptoms of monkeypox is a rash that progresses to lesions on various parts of the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), monkeypox can be fatal in as many as 1 in 10 patients who contract it. The CDC said it was monitoring clusters of the virus in other countries, as well as a lone case in Massachusetts, and that it would continue to release updates as more information becomes available.
Health officials urged the public to seek medical care if they have any symptoms consistent with monkeypox.