Should You Be Concerned About The Monkeypox Outbreak In Europe?

Scientists with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, are investigating after a case of monkeypox was discovered following an outbreak in several European countries. According to the Cleveland Clinic, monkeypox in America is rare. However, it's more common in Africa. 

Interestingly, the virus doesn't come from monkeys any more but rodents and squirrels in the African rainforest, Cleveland Clinic reports. The disease is caused by the monkeypox virus, a virus similar to smallpox, a potentially life-threatening illness in which blisters appear on the skin.

Like smallpox, which was eradicated thanks to vaccines in the 1980s, monkeypox can leave behind serious, flu-like symptoms. NPR reports monkeypox symptoms range from fevers and body aches to painful fluid-filled blisters and swollen lymph nodes

A recent U.S. case of monkeypox has the CDC on alert as a Massachusetts man with the disease had not traveled to Europe or Africa, but instead, Canada. Since the case appeared in the U.S., there have been more than 60 cases reported in Europe and several in Canada.

How Monkeypox spreads

Health officials are working to determine where the Massachusetts man caught monkeypox. The CDC reports monkeypox is most commonly spread through bodily fluids, monkeypox sores, or items contaminated with monkeypox, such as bedding. There's also the possibility of the virus spreading through respiratory droplets when in a close setting with someone who has the illness.

While the case is alarming, the public should not be worried about monkeypox in the United States at this time, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The man in Massachusetts who developed monkeypox is being monitored in the hospital and is in good condition. Typically, monkeypox cases last anywhere from two to four weeks. The health department says the case poses no risk to the public. However, the CDC urges people with new or unusual rashes or spots, or other monkeypox symptoms, to contact their doctor immediately.