Monkeypox: Expert outlines ‘different’ behaviour in outbreak

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Monkeypox, a viral infection originating from Central and West Africa, has been confirmed within the UK.

Understandably, many Brits are concerned by the spread of the unfamiliar illness given the global experience of the coronavirus pandemic.

James Gallagher, the BBC’s health and science correspondent, has noted a difference in the pattern of the recent spread of monkeypox, compared to the traditional behaviour of the disease.

It is also unusual for the infection to be found in areas of Europe and America where cases of the disease have now been confirmed.

Speaking to BBC’s Newscast, Mr Gallagher said: “It’s not very good at spreading between people. 

“But in countries where it is very common in animals, it spills over into people quite regularly, causes outbreaks in relatively small areas and then just fades away. 

“So what’s happening now is slightly different.

“We’re seeing it happening across multiple countries.”

The health expert confirmed the international spread of the infection was not a common occurrence for this particular virus.

He continued: “Places like Canada, Portugal, Spain, UK, so all adding on to this. 

“It’s looking a little bit different to the monkeypox outbreaks that we’ve had in the past which is one of the things that’s raising eyebrows about it.”

Across Europe alone, cases of monkeypox have now been confirmed in the UK, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Sweden.

Read more: Monkeypox: Doctor Hilary shares key symptoms to look out for

A statement issued by the World Health Organisation said: “There are about 80 confirmed cases so far, and 50 pending investigations. 

“More cases are likely to be reported as surveillance expands.”

WHO confirmed the recent reports of monkeypox outside of Africa were unusual as the infection is now present in areas normally free of spread.

“The recent outbreaks reported across 11 countries so far are atypical, as they are occurring in non-endemic countries.”

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Mr Gallagher added: “Nobody that I’m speaking to is having the same level of concern that they were doing in the very earliest moments of covd.

“So, one phrase that I got today was: this is not covid two.”

The statement from WHO echoed the warnings of the health expert not to entertain hastily drawn parallels between monkeypox and coronavirus.

WHO said: “Monkeypox spreads differently from COVID-19. WHO encourages people to stay informed from reliable sources, such as national health authorities, on the extent of the outbreak in their community (if any), symptoms and prevention.” 

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