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What To Know About The Monkeypox Cases Spotted In Canada, Europe & The United States

It's a less severe cousin to smallpox.

Global Staff Writer
A woman showing her arm.

A woman showing her arm.

A monkeypox outbreak first spotted in the U.K. has now raised alarms in North America and Europe, where health officials are investigating dozens of potential cases of the rare disease.

The United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Spain, Portugal and Italy have all reported possible or confirmed cases of monkeypox in recent days, in a rare outbreak for a virus that is typically confined to Africa.

The disease is a "less severe" cousin to smallpox, and is typically fatal for a "tenth" of those it infects, especially among younger people, the WHO says. Symptoms can include fever, rash, lesions, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, headaches and swollen lymph nodes.

It's typically transmitted through contact with bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, lesions or materials that have touched those lesions.

No deaths had been reported as of Thursday morning.

Most of the U.K. cases were found in men who identify as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with other men, the World Health Organization says.

Public health officials were looking into 13 possible cases of monkeypox in Montreal on Thursday, reported the CBC.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also reported its first case in a man who recently travelled to Canada.

Although American health officials are taking precautions against the virus, they say the one confirmed case "poses no risk to the public" and that the patient is "hospitalized and in good condition."

The U.K. Health Security Agency (UKHSA) made a similar announcement on the government website and ensured that although they are experiencing an outbreak, it's not something to worry about.

"The virus does not usually spread easily between people," said the UKHSA said in a statement. "The risk to the U.K. population remains low."

The U.K. was the first to report the outbreak, which began after a case was confirmed on May 7 in a person who had travelled into the country from Nigeria.

Dr. Susan Hopkins, the UKHSA's chief medical adviser, is "urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions."

She encouraged them "to contact a sexual health service without delay if they have concerns."

Animals typically spread the disease to humans, but the WHO says it hasn't figured out where this infection is coming from.

The WHO says smallpox vaccines have historically been protective against monkeypox.

This article's cover image was used for illustrative purposes only.

    Sameen Chaudhry
    Global Staff Writer
    Sameen Chaudhry is a Staff Writer for Narcity’s Global Desk focused on TikTok drama and is based in Toronto, Ontario.
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