Four monkeypox cases have been confirmed in Brussels, with an additional probable case, reported Sciensano public health institute on Wednesday.
There are now fourteen confirmed cases in Belgium, of which four are in Brussels, nine are in Flanders and one in Wallonia. Data hasn't yet been collected concerning the three most recent reports, but the previous infections were discovered in men who have sexual contact with other men. The people in these cases were between 28 and 42-years-old.
Monkeypox cases are suspected in non-endemic countries for people experiencing an unexplained acute rash and one or more of the following symptoms since March 15 2022:
- Acute onset of fever (>38.5oC),
- Lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes)
- Myalgia (muscle and body aches)
- Back pain
- Asthenia (profound weakness)
"Monkeypox can infect anyone and is not intrinsically associated with any specific group of people," said Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Europe on Tuesday.
Kluge stressed that it was unclear if the virus persists in bodily fluids for longer periods of time but underlined that affected individuals have a "mild and self-limiting but unpleasant and potentially disease" that could last for up to several weeks.
The WHO stressed that monkeypox is not an airborne disease like Covid-19, and will not, therefore, require severe population control measures. However, the organisation is uncertain whether the spread can be contained completely and urged the need for clear communication, the isolation of identified cases and effective monitoring.
Currently, Europe is the epicentre for the monkeypox virus, with the UK, Spain and Portugal having 20-30 confirmed cases. On Tuesday, there were ten confirmed and two probable cases in Belgium.