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Monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries rising

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According to a World Health Organisation report, confirmed cases of monkeypox in non-endemic countries rose to 1,217 between 13 May – 8 June. No cases have been confirmed in Cyprus.

The Health Ministry said 1,536 suspected cases were reported in eight countries in the African region, while 59 cases were confirmed and 72 deaths reported.

No deaths have been reported outside Africa. After Britain, the highest number of cases have been reported in Spain, Germany and Canada.

The ministry said that Cyprus had not had a confirmed case of monkeypox, but it should be expected.

The danger is described as moderate for those with multiple sexual partners and low for the wider population.

According to epidemiological research, most cases have been detected through sexual health clinics or other health services with a travel history to European and North American countries and not endemic countries where the virus is known to exist.

The majority of confirmed cases (1,056 or 87%) derive from the WHO’’s European region.

According to the ministry, the WHO expects more monkeypox cases as the situation unfolds.

Currently, the likelihood of monkeypox spreading is higher in those with multiple sexual partners in the EU/EEA.

Monkeypox virus can cause serious disease in certain groups (young children, pregnant women, immunosuppressed individuals).

However, the probability of developing cases with severe morbidity cannot yet be precisely estimated.

If there is a suspected case in Cyprus, the patient will be referred for specialised tests at the reference Hospital Nicosia General for adults and Makarios Hospital for children.

The European Union will sign an agreement for the supply of about 110,000 doses of vaccines against monkeypox to be delivered from the end of June, EU health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), monkeypox symptoms include fever, rash and lumps and can lead to various medical complications. Symptoms of the disease usually appear for two to four weeks, which go away on their own.