After three people in Belgium were diagnosed with monkeypox, which has spread to over a dozen countries in the last week, Belgium's Risk Assessment Group announced a 21-day quarantine for patients with the virus. The declaration was made on Friday by the health authorities.
On Sunday, virologist Marc Van Ranst announced on social media that a fourth case of monkeypox had been diagnosed. He said the person in question was linked to the worldwide gay fetish festival Darklands, which took place in Antwerp in early May, much like the previous three times.
"It's critical that everyone who attended the Darklands Festival be on the lookout for any symptoms," the doctor said, adding that the scope of the outbreak was becoming "clearer and clearer," and that "this is unheard of with monkeypox viruses." The condition is mostly seen in west and central Africa, and it is incurable but normally cures in a few weeks.
The Canary Islands' Gran Canaria pride celebration, which drew 80,000 people from all over Europe, has also been identified as a potential monkeypox "super-spreader" event, with cases in Spain, Italy, and Tenerife. More than 30 people have been diagnosed with the virus in Madrid, which has become a hotspot for the infection.
While the Belgian government has advised those with suspected infections to isolate themselves, it has also advised them to visit hospital emergency rooms to speak with medical professionals – contradictory advice similar to that which some experts believe helped spread Covid-19 during the early days of the pandemic.
According to the World Health Organization, monkeypox is difficult to spread between people because it requires continuous intimate contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets, or infected objects such as bedding. Fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, back and muscle discomfort are among the first symptoms, which are followed by the formation of an unique rash with pustules on the face, hands, and other parts of the body. Within one to two weeks of infection, symptoms begin to show.
Apart from Belgium, monkeypox has been found in the Netherlands, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Canada, Israel, Switzerland, Australia, and the United States in the previous week. Following the diagnosis of a single patient with monkeypox last week, the US hurried to purchase 13 million doses of Jynneos, a smallpox vaccine that was authorised for use against the virus in 2019.
On Friday, the World Health Organization called an emergency conference on monkeypox after the number of probable cases surpassed 100. Despite media hype, government officials in the United Kingdom and the United States have stated that the virus poses a low risk to the general public.
However, at the 2021 Munich Security Conference, a tabletop'simulation' event presented a hypothetical monkeypox outbreak that killed 270 million people worldwide.