The World Health Organization is holding an “emergency” meeting on Friday to discuss the spread of monkeypox in a number of European and North American countries.
The Geneva-based organization’s announcement of the meeting came after confirming that Australia and Canada had recorded the first cases of this rare skin disease.
And the health authorities in Australia revealed this morning the first infection with the virus in the state of Victoria, adding that they are awaiting confirmation of a second infection in Sydney.
She explained that the confirmed infection of a person in his thirties who had just returned from Britain, adding that he had been isolated.
Yesterday evening, Canada revealed that it had recorded the first two cases of the disease in humans, after a series of cases of infection in Europe.
With the passage of days, the incidence of monkeypox increased, while the disease was also monitored in Britain, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, France and the United States.
Symptoms of the disease appear in the form of fever, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, fatigue, chills, and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.
Infection with the disease results from direct contact with the blood of infected animals, their body fluids, their skin lesions, or their mucous fluids, according to the World Health Organization.
Secondary or human-to-human transmission can result from contact with skin lesions and droplets of an infected person as well as the use of common items such as bedding and towels.
Monkeypox is a form of smallpox, a disease that was eradicated in 1980. It is considered one of the least contagious and deadly, and its symptoms are milder.
The disease usually lasts for 2 to 4 weeks and symptoms can appear within 5 to 21 days after infection.
Monkeypox was first discovered in 1958 when a disease similar to smallpox appeared in laboratory monkeys, hence the name.
There are no specific medicines or vaccines available to combat monkeypox infection, but its symptoms can be controlled.
It was previously proven that vaccination against smallpox is 85% successful in preventing monkeypox, but this vaccine is no longer available to the general public after vaccination with it was stopped in the wake of the eradication of smallpox from the world.