The monkeypox outbreak in some European countries is the latest concern among countries.
The first case associated with the current outbreak was reported in the U.K. on May 7 in a person who had recently traveled to Nigeria, where they are believed to have contracted the disease.
Five cases of monkeypox have since been confirmed in Portugal, while Spain has seven cases.
Canada is investigating 13 suspected cases of the disease, with one U.S. patient reported to have recently traveled to the country.
Monkeypox is a viral infection that has in the past been spotted in West and Central Africa.
How does monkeypox spread?
Unlike COVID-19, which is highly contagious, monkeypox doesn’t usually spread easily among people.
Monkeypox spreads via large respiratory droplets when people are in close contact; direct contact with skin lesions or bodily fluids; or indirect contact via contaminated clothing or bedding.
Most people who catch monkeypox have mild flu-like symptoms, such as fever and backache, and a rash that clears by itself within two to four weeks. The rash starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body, including the genitalia. The rash features boils that fill with pus and ultimately crust over and fall off.
It can be hard to tell the difference between monkeypox and other common rashes such as chickenpox. Swollen lymph nodes are a hallmark feature of monkeypox, according to the World Health Organization.
How is monkeypox treated?
Treatment for monkeypox is mostly supportive — as for a cough or cold, for example. Most people recover without treatment within a few weeks.
There is no specific vaccine for monkeypox, but the vaccine for smallpox can be used to control outbreaks.
According to the WHO, the smallpox vaccine can provide up to 85% protection against monkeypox, and people vaccinated against smallpox in childhood may experience a milder disease.