Sweden has now got its first case of monkey cups. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) is following the situation closely and is expecting it to come to Norway.
The rare viral disease causes rashes all over the body, has been detected in several places in North America and Europe. Authorities fear it could spread further.
Here at home, FHI has set up an expert group that monitors the situation closely:
– We are prepared for cases to arise in Norway. It is not unlikely, says department director for infection control and emergency preparedness at FHI, Siri Laura Feruglio to VG.
Monkey pox is a viral disease reminiscent of smallpox, but it is much less contagious and has a lower mortality rate.
The disease is usually mild, and most infected people will recover without treatment within a few weeks. Some will develop scars.
On Thursday, Sweden announced that a person has been infected. The public health authorities there recommend to put monkey cups on listening over general illnessessomething FHI is now also continuously considering now.
– What is very unusual is that so many cases appear in such a short time. That is why we have established a separate outbreak group that collects reports and monitors developments.
The disease has never been in Norway before.
– We follow very closely, to limit further infection. We have long and good experience with this from covid. Both by isolating and tracing the infection around all infected people.
The monkey pox virus first appeared in 1959 in monkeys used in research. The first human cases were identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970.
– If you get a fever and rash and suspect you are infected with monkey pox, you should call a doctor and consider what to do next. This applies, for example, if you have a strong suspicion, for example by having had sexual contact with someone who has the virus.
Many of the cases are young men, among men who have sex with men. British health authorities now advises this group to be aware of unusual rashes or boils, and seek medical attention if they suspect they may be infected.
World Health Organization (WHO) write that children and adolescents are most prone to serious disease of monkey pox.
Currently, the following cases of monkeypox virus have been reported in Europe:
- United Kingdom: A total of 9 confirmed cases.
- Portugal: 5 confirmed cases. Another 20 erroneous cases.
- Spain: 8 wrong cases.
- Sweden: 1 case
Reminiscent of chickenpox
Currently, there is a mortality rate of less than 1 percent, according to the department director. No deaths have ever been reported from western countries.
The rash often occurs after having flu-like symptoms and for a couple of weeks. It usually starts in the face and can spread to other parts of the body.
– It is a disease that mostly progresses with fever, decreased general condition, lymph node swelling and then the rash which then goes back without treatment. For the individual, it is troublesome and can resemble chickenpox.
– Mostly it is not a very serious disease, but it is an unusual disease here in Europe, so we follow closely.
Feruglio says the UK is analyzing the virus to see if there are any significant changes in the virus.
Infects through close contact
The disease is usually most prevalent in Congo, but has also spread to other countries in central Africa. In the West, it has only appeared as rare import cases in recent years, and then all cases have been directly linked to travel in African countries.
– What is unusual is that so many cases are reported, and that they have not been traveling to West Africa.
The infection occurs through close contact and mainly through rashes. Infection can occur in the family with skin contact otherwise as well. It can also be transmitted through droplet infection.
The disease goes away on its own, so there is not much you can do other than relieve symptoms and take good care of yourself, says Feruglio.
– Why has the virus not spread in this way before?
– It is occasional coincidence that makes it occur in that way. And when you get attention around, the diagnostics will be more alert.