The UK and other European countries have reported a small number of human monkeypox infections, a virus rarely seen in Europe. The US, Canada and Australia are also investigating cases. Health services remain puzzled over how the virus is transmitted.
Human monkeypox leads to skin irritations with pustules and blisters that eventually burst and then scab over, though they rarely leave scars. The infection is similar to normal pox (smallpox or variola).
The cases registered in the United Kingdom have been reported as the West African strain, which is relatively mild compared to the Central African variant. The illness generally runs its course within three to four weeks. The West African strain is seldom deadly — and when it is, it’s mostly in small children.
As a precaution, Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has issued a warning for Germany, urging citizens to be vigilant.
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