Those who are infected with the monkeypox virus must self-isolate for 21 days, the Risk Assessment Group (RAG) and health authorities decided on Friday.
So far, three cases of monkeypox have been detected in Belgium. Two of the cases have been clinically diagnosed while the partner of one of those patients is also showing symptoms.
Cases have also been identified in the United Kingdom, Portugal and Spain, mainly among men who have intercourse with men.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue. A rash may appear, often on the face, then spread to the rest of the body.
Anyone showing symptoms should go to the hospital’s emergency department and consult with medical experts, the RAG advises.
The incubation period can range from 5 to 21 days, and people infected with monkeypox usually start showing show light symptoms early on.
High-risk contacts, such as roommates, sexual partners and those who have been in close contact with an infected person, do not have to be in isolation, but must monitor themselves whether they develop symptoms.
The RAG recommends high-risk contacts to be extra careful around people with reduced immunity, pregnant women and children.
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Furthermore, people who have different sexual contacts are also asked to be vigilant, the RAG said.
What is monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease originating in West and Central Africa, which is transmitted through very close physical contact with an infected person or contact with textiles used by a person with monkeypox.
The virus can also be transmitted via respiratory droplets 0r close human contact such as sexual intercourse.
The risk for the general population is low. Most people recover within a two to four weeks.
At this stage, the cases reported in Europe are mostly mild, and there are no reported deaths. The evolution of cases in Belgium is being closely monitored.