Europe on red alert for monkeypox as health chiefs warn of 'high risk' of virus spreading

The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says the current cases are “primarily among men who have sex with men"

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Health chiefs have warned there is a “high risk” of spread of monkeypox across Europe.

The virus has already begun to spread across the UK, with 20 cases recorded to date.

And there is a total of 85 cases found in the EU so far, across eight member states.

The member states where monkeypox has been discovered include Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.

There is a total of 85 cases found in the EU so far, across eight member states
There is a total of 85 cases found in the EU so far, across eight member states
The ECDC says there is a "high risk" of further spread
The ECDC says there is a "high risk" of further spread

In a Rapid Risk Assessment published today, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said the current cases are “primarily among men who have sex with men”.

The ECDC said most people with the virus have suffered mild symptoms to date, before warning that there is a high risk of further spread.

Andrea Ammon, ECDC Director said: “Most of the current cases have presented with mild disease symptoms, and for the broader population, the likelihood of spread is very low.

“However, the likelihood of further spread of the virus through close contact, for example during sexual activities among persons with multiple sexual partners, is considered to be high.”

While Stella Kyriakides, European Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, added: “I am concerned about the increased number of reported monkeypox cases in the EU and globally.

“We are closely monitoring the situation, and whilst currently the likelihood of spread in the broader population is low, the situation is evolving.

“We all need to remain vigilant, ensure that contact tracing and adequate diagnostics capacity is in place, and ensure that we have the necessary vaccines, antivirals and personal protective equipment for health professionals available.

“We have been in close contact with Member States since the first reports of cases of the monkeypox virus in the EU and stand ready to actively support and coordinate the EU response with all assets at the EU’s disposal.”

Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash can develop, often beginning on the face, which then spreads to other parts of the body including the genitals.