“Most of the cases are young men who self-identify as men who have sex with men. There were no deaths, »said the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based in Stockholm, on Wednesday evening.
Outside of the 11 African countries where this rare disease is endemic, most confirmed cases are currently concentrated in three countries: the UK (71 cases), Spain (51) and Portugal (37). A total of 191 cases were confirmed in Europe, plus 15 in Canada, nine in the United States, two in Australia, one each in Israel and the United Arab Emirates. Suspected cases were not counted in the balance sheet.
Two confirmed cases are also known from Switzerland. Two men from Bern and Geneva were affected. According to the health authorities, they show mild symptoms and were probably infected in other European countries.
On Monday, in its first risk assessment, the ECDC classified the probability of infection in the general population as “very low”, but as “high” for people with multiple sexual partners. The World Health Organization (WHO) had shown optimism that it would be able to stop the spread of the disease.
Monkeypox is a less dangerous cousin of smallpox, which was eradicated about 40 years ago. The disease begins with a high fever and quickly progresses to a crusting rash.