As monkey pox continues to infect Europe and other parts of the world, Belgium became the first country to introduce compulsory quarantine for those who have been infected with disease. Any person who tests positive has to quarantine for 21 days. The numbers of those infected by this viral condition have been increasing in the U.K. as well as in other parts of the world.
Belgium has detected three cases. The first case and second case were recorded on Friday, in different cities. However they were linked to a festival that had taken place in Antwerp, the port city of Belgium, that is also famous for its diamond industry. The third case was also linked to the same event.
Although it is a rare viral infection that is contracted in tropical areas of west and central Africa and was first isolated human case in Congo, in 1970, five decades later, human cases were recorded in America in 2003 and in the U.K. in 2018. The disease is generally transmitted to those who have handled monkeys or have eaten meat that has not been cooked properly.
Monkey pox spreads through close contact with those who have the infection. It can spread through droplets in the air and can enter the body through respiratory track, through the eyes, the nose or the mouth. It can also infect a person through broken skin or by touch including touching humans who have been infected or objects that have been contaminated by them.
Some of the symptoms include fever, headaches as well as skin rashes. The rashes are somewhat bumpy in appearance. The current infection, which isthe West African strain, is spreading across the world and has a fatality of one in every hundred cases.
Although there is no vaccine for monkey pox, as yet, Britain is offering small pox vaccines to its health care workers as a precautionary measure, as it has an 85 efficacy against a monkey pox infection, according to the World Health Organization.
Although the viral infection is endemic in parts of Africa, this is the first time it has spread across Europe including cases in Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Sweden, in the U.S. and the U.K. It is highly unlikely to cause a pandemic, but needs to be taken seriously to stop its spread.