Is it already too late to prevent this new monkeypox outbreak from spreading all over the globe? Cases have now been confirmed in the UK, Spain, Portugal, and the United States.
A few days ago I warned that this outbreak could potentially develop into something big, and that appears to be precisely what is happening. If you are not familiar with monkeypox, it is being described as a “smallpox-like virus” that produces some really nasty symptoms.
In particular, the fluid-filled blisters that it produces all over the body can cause victims to look pretty horrifying. The good news is that monkeypox is not nearly as deadly as smallpox. The death rate for smallpox in humans can be as high as 30 percent, but the death rate for monkeypox is usually far lower.
But has monkeypox now mutated into a dangerous new form? Normally, monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person, but evidence of “community transmission” is starting to emerge during this new outbreak. In the UK, the number of confirmed cases has now officially risen to 9, and authorities still don’t know how it is spreading…
Two new cases of the monkeypox virus have been confirmed in the UK, bringing up the total number of confirmed diagnoses since May 6 to nine. The virus, though usually “self-limiting”, can be deadly for one in 10 patients, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
It had been hoped that cases could be limited just to the UK, but that didn’t happen. On Wednesday, officials in Portugal announced that they have five confirmed cases and 15 “suspected cases”… Portuguese health authorities on Wednesday confirmed five cases of monkeypox – a rare viral infection related to smallpox – in young men, marking an unusual outbreak in Europe of a disease typically limited to Africa.
Portugal’s General Directorate for Health added it was investigating another 15 suspected cases and that all were identified this month around the capital Lisbon. And over in Spain, we are now being told that there are 23 different victims that are currently exhibiting monkeypox symptoms…
Health authorities in Spain have issued an alert over a possible outbreak of monkeypox after 23 people showed symptoms compatible with the viral infection, which has already been detected in the UK and Portugal. The health ministry cautioned that the suspected cases – all in the Madrid region – had yet to be confirmed, but said a nationwide alert had been issued “to guarantee a swift, coordinated and timely response”.
Following the stunning news that we got from Portugal and Spain, a top official at the CDC warned that she was “very confident we’re going to see cases in the United States”… “Given that we have seen now confirmed cases out of Portugal, suspected cases out of Spain, we’re seeing this expansion of confirmed and suspect cases globally, we have a sense that no one has their arms around this to know how large and expansive it might be.
And given how much travel there is between the United States and Europe, I am very confident we’re going to see cases in the United States,” said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s division of high consequence pathogens and pathology.
And right on cue, it has happened. Just a few hours ago, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that a man that recently travelled to Canada has tested positive for the virus… A Massachusetts resident has tested positive for monkeypox, health officials confirmed Wednesday, making it the first case of the rare virus detected in the United States this year.
According to a release from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, the patient is an adult male who recently travelled to Canada. The department completed initial testing Tuesday and was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is all beginning to move much faster than I had anticipated.
This is already an international crisis, and NPR is admitting that “health officials have little clue where people caught the virus”… But health officials have little clue where people caught the virus. And there’s concern the virus may be spreading through the community – undetected – and possibly through a new route of transmission. “This [outbreak] is rare and unusual,” epidemiologist Susan Hopkins, who’s the chief medical adviser of the U.K. Health Security Agency