Health officials are concerned as a monkeypox outbreak has been reported across Europe. Just a few days after the United States recorded its first case of the rare infection in 2022, the number of cases in Europe ballooned to over 100.
Officials in Germany, which reported its first case of the viral infection, said the outbreak was the largest ever in Europe.
"With several confirmed cases in the United Kingdom, Spain and Portugal, this is the largest and most widespread outbreak of monkeypox ever seen in Europe," said Germany's armed forces' medical service.
Monkeypox usually spreads from monkeys to humans through direct contact and is most commonly found in African countries. Most cases of monkeypox are mild and start off with a fever, headaches, muscle aches, swelling, and back pain. Within a few days of having a fever, patients will develop a rash and sores on their hands and feet.
The infection usually clears up on its own within a month. There are no known treatments for monkeypox, though the smallpox vaccine does appear to offer some protection against the viral infection.
Health experts are concerned because many of the cases appear to be from community spread and not linked to recent travel to Africa. However, despite the surprising rise in cases, they believe the outbreak can be contained.
"However it is very unlikely that this epidemic will last long. The cases can be well isolated via contact tracing, and there are also drugs and effective vaccines that can be used if necessary," Fabian Leendertz, from the Robert Koch Institute, told Reuters.