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Unusual Spread of Monkey Pox -- might be human-contagious mutation

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What to know about monkeypox symptoms as more cases are reported in Europe
Dr. Catherine Schuster-Bruce 4 hours ago
A person with monkeypox holds out their hands, which are dotted with lesions.
A person with monkeypox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo holds out their hands, which are covered in lesions. CDC/ Brian W.J. Mahy, BSc, MA, PhD, ScD, DSc
Monkeypox has been detected in the UK, Portugal and Spain.
The illness causes pus-filled boils and flu-like symptoms.
The CDC has said there's some concern it will spread beyond Europe, STAT reported.
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Monkeypox cases have been reported in Spain, the UK, and Portugal, and disease experts are urgently investigating its unusual spread.

The monkeypox virus can cause pus-filled boils and kills 1%-10% of those that catch it, according to the World Health Organization. It doesn't typically spread easily among humans, and as such officials are urgently investigating the current outbreaks. 

Seven monkeypox cases have been diagnosed in the UK since May 6, officials confirmed on Monday. Today, Portuguese authorities reported five local cases, and their Spanish counterparts reported eight suspected cases, according to Reuters.

A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) official expressed concern on Tuesday that this version of monkeypox could be novel, and that the potentially deadly condition that could soon be detected beyond Europe.

Speaking to STAT, Jennifer McQuiston, a senior official at the CDC, said: "We do have a level of concern that this is very different than what we typically think of from monkeypox. And I think we have some concern that there could be spread outside the UK associated with this."

As officials study where and how the individuals across Europe became infected, they are sharing tell-tale signs of infection.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever, backache, and a rash
Typically monkeypox causes a mild illness that lasts two to four weeks. It can take between five to 21 days to develop symptoms after catching the virus. 

Initial symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion.

A rash that starts on the face and spreads to the rest of the body can then occur within one to three days of a person developing a fever. 

The rash begins as flat, red bumps, that form into blisters that fill with pus. These boils crust over and fall off after several days. 

There is currently no proven treatment for monkeypox.
Four of the cases self-identified as gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men.

While the UK Health Security Agency is still studying how likely sexual contact is as a route of transmission, they agency advised these groups to be vigilant for any unusual lesions, and to seek medical attention if they have concerns. 


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First US monkeypox case identified hours after a CDC official expressed concern about unusual outbreak across Europe
Andrea Michelson
Wed, May 18, 2022, 3:52 PM
Tami Chappell/Reuters
A case of monkeypox has been confirmed in a man in Massachusetts.

The man is hospitalized and in good condition, and his case "poses no risk to the public," according to state officials.

The case comes on the heels of reported monkeypox clusters in the UK, Portugal, and Spain.

A single case of monkeypox has been confirmed in Massachusetts, days after new clusters were reported in the UK and Europe.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced that an adult male who recently traveled to Canada was tested for monkeypox virus late Tuesday. In a press release Wednesday, the agency said the case was confirmed by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The individual is hospitalized and in good condition, according to MDPH. Local health authorities are working to identify any close contacts who may be infected, but the department said the case "poses no risk to the public."

Human monkeypox infections are rare, as the virus does not spread easily between people. Transmission can occur via contact with bodily fluids, including respiratory droplets in situations with prolonged face time (i.e.: intimate contact). Most infections are mild and last two to four weeks, according to MDPH.

The case in Massachusetts is the first monkeypox case to be identified in the US in 2022. Since early May, at least seven cases have been confirmed in the UK, and additional clusters were reported in Portugal and Spain this week.

In 2021, Texas and Maryland each reported a case of monkeypox, both with connections to recent travel to Nigeria, where the virus is endemic. The latest cases have raised concern among public health officials because of the possibility of local transmission; half of the cases reported in the UK in May had not recently traveled outside of the country.

"If there appears to be unknown chains of transmission, it just puts us on alert to be thinking: Could this be spreading outside the UK?" CDC official Jennifer McQuiston told STAT Tuesday, before cases were announced outside the UK.

"We do have a level of concern that this is very different than what we typically think of from monkeypox," she said.

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That is pretty scary stuff. I didn't know it was already in the States. I read an article where British officials seem to think it is primarily contracted through sexual contact, similar to Aids I assume. But it's too early to tell. Sigh. Keep us update...you're good at that. 

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First monkeypox case in U.S. this year identified; 6 people in U.S. quarantined for potential exposure, CDC says

Erin Prater
Wed, May 18, 2022, 3:56 PM
The first monkeypox case of the year has been identified in Massachusetts, state health officials said Wednesday—this as the CDC told Fortune that six people in the U.S. are being monitored for potential exposure to the smallpox-related virus typically endemic in Africa.

The lone case was confirmed in an adult male who had recently traveled to Canada, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a news release late Wednesday. The department is completing contact tracing and the man is hospitalized in good condition, the agency said.

Also late Wednesday, the CDC informed Fortune that the United Kingdom had notified the U.S. of eight individuals who may have been seated near an infected U.K. traveler when they flew from Nigeria to London from May 3-4. Of the eight, one is no longer in the U.S. and another was not a contact, the health agency said.

“The remaining six are being monitored by their respective state health departments,” the CDC said in a statement. “None of these six travel contacts have monkeypox symptoms, and their risk of infection is very low.”

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Portugal and Spain detect new cases of monkeypox infection
Thu, May 19, 2022, 6:21 AM
LISBON/MADRID (Reuters) - Health authorities in Portugal identified nine new cases of the monkeypox viral infection, taking the total to 14, while in Spain authorities on Thursday reported the first seven cases.

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder. Symptoms include fever, headaches and skin rashes.

The outbreaks in Britain, Portugal, Spain and the United States have raised alarm because the viral disease, which spreads through close contact and was first found in monkeys, mostly occurs in West and Central Africa, and only very occasionally elsewhere.

The nine patients confirmed in Portugal are stable and being closely monitored, Portuguese health authority DGS said late on Wednesday, adding that experts were trying to "identify chains of transmission and potential new cases".

Most cases in Portugal were reported in and around the capital Lisbon, DGS said.

Spain reported its first seven confirmed cases and 22 possible cases, all in the central region of Madrid, local health authorities said.

"It's possible we will have more cases in the coming days," Madrid regional public health chief, Antonio Zapatero, told Onda Cero radio station.

The Portuguese health authority has asked those with "suspicious symptoms", such as skin rashes or ulcerated lesions, to refrain from direct physical contact with others.

(Reporting by Christina Thykjaer in Madrid and Catarina Demony in Portugal, Editing by Emma Pinedo, Inti Landauro and Barbara Lewis)

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1 confirmed in US

13 suspected in Canada

5 confirmed in Portugal more than 20 suspected

7 confirmed in Spain 22 others suspected

9 confirmed in UK

Edited by Ambergris
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Per the CDC and WHO:

More than 450 cases have been reported in Nigeria since 2017.

Two major strains of the virus pose different risks. About 1 in 10 people who get the Congo Basin strain die, 1 in 100 die from the West African strain.

That West African strain is infecting people in the United Kingdom. It is not clear what strain the Massachusetts patient has.

In 2003, more than 70 cases of the West African strain showed up in the Midwest, mostly among people who had prairie dogs as pets.  This was linked to rodents from Ghana.


Bad news:  Two new cases in Britain found Wednesday have no known link to the prior nine cases known in the UK, raising a possibility of community transmission. 


Edited by Ambergris
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They are looking into why so many patients in this wave are young males who have had sex with other men.  They note that breathing on each other is common among people who have sex, and also is a major way to catch monkey pox without having sex, but ... the locations of lesions is also changing.  Enough said.  


Common household disinfectants can kill the monkeypox virus on surfaces, according to the CDC.

A number of treatments for monkeypox exist, even if none are specific to the virus.  Smallpox vaccine Jynneos is approved to treat monkeypox in adults because of evidence that animal-transmitted pox viruses like monkeypox and rabbitpox typically cross-react and provide protection against other pox viruses. Other smallpox vaccines were used to prevent monkeypox transmission in outbreaks before the development of Jynneos, though they weren't approved for such a purpose.  Antivirals are available too, including tecovirimat, also known as TPOXX, an oral antiviral approved for smallpox in adults and children. In the European Union it's approved for the treatment of monkeypox and cowpox.  There's also cidofovir, an antiviral used for other viruses, like adenovirus, with demonstrated success against monkeypox.  Such vaccines and antivirals are included in the Strategic National Stockpile in the U.S.

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The first case in the United Kingdom was reported May 7, in someone with a travel history to Nigeria.  Cases have been detected in the US, Canada, UK, France, Sweden, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Belgium, Germany and Australia.

France, Belgium and Germany declared their first cases on Friday.

There are now 20 confirmed cases in the UK, Health Secretary Sajid Javid said on Friday.

In the US, one case has been confirmed but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is monitoring six people for possible infection after they sat next to an infected traveler who had symptoms while on a flight from Nigeria to the United Kingdom in early May. 

Separately, CDC officials are investigating the case of monkeypox confirmed in a man in Massachusetts who had recently travelled to Canada. And the New York City Health Department is investigating a possible infection in a patient currently at a hospital.

In Canada, there are at least a dozen suspected monkeypox cases. Two of them were confirmed on May 19.

Australia’s first case was detected in a man who fell ill after travelling to the UK.

Countries outside Africa where confirmed: 7

33 confirmed cases
42 suspected cases

Edited by Ambergris
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Of all the below confirmed cases, only the first UK case had been to an area in Africa where monkeypox is at home.  The first case was discovered May 7.


Spain now has 30 confirmed cases, many linked to a particular sauna in Madrid.  "Sauna" in this case refers to a place in which men meet to have sex with men.    One confirmed case in the Extremadura region is not being counted, for reasons I didn't get.  Another 18 cases are being investigated: 15 in the Madrid region, two in the Canary Islands and one in Andalusia.


In Italy, the first confirmed case is a young man who had recently returned from Spain’s Canary Islands.  The two other Italian cases are considered related to him.  Each detected case had come into contact with about 10 people, so screening would concern 30 contacts.


Portugal has 23 confirmed cases, with nine new cases detected Friday.


Israel has one case, a young man who just returned from a trip to Western Europe.


The German case was registered in Bavaria on Thursday.


In France, the single patient, a 29-year-old man in the Paris region, had no history of travel to a country where the virus is circulating.


Sweden’s Ministry of Health confirmed on Thursday that a single case had been identified in Stockholm.


In the UK, 20 confirmed cases, some of them with no contacts to any other case and no history of recent travel.  Nearly all in London or the southeast of England.


Belgium has two confirmed cases in the Flanders region.


Australia’s first case fell ill after travelling to the UK.


The US is monitoring six people who flew from Nigeria to the UK next to an infected person.  Also, the US has one confirmed case who had traveled to Canada.


Canada has five confirmed cases in Quebec and  "a couple dozen" possible cases, mostly in Quebec and British Columbia.


Andrew Preston, a professor of microbial pathogenicity at the University of Bath, is concerned that many of the identified cases had no links to one another.  “That would suggest there are other contacts forming the connections between those cases,” he explained. “That’s the worrying thing: The epidemiology would suggest there are other unrecognized cases at the moment. There have to be other cases in the community.”


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Ambergris.  Thank you for tracking this for us.  Following your posts gives us a look at the spread of the virus.  While it isn’t unusual to have cases and even small clusters of cases around the world each year this appears to becoming more of a concern to officials.  I’m wondering why.  It would be unlikely it would become pandemic unless it has mutated beyond it’s beginnings.  We haven’t heard that yet.  

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I’m wondering why as well Mother. Everything I’ve read shows it to be a mild disease...beyond the gross out factor (for me at least) of having blisters all over you. Why is it becoming a big concern? Is there an expectation that it might mutate into something worse? I feel like we just don’t need one more thing....

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I have been reading a lot about this. Just something else we have to deal with on top of everything else. 

There was a joke going around about monkeypox.  It was something like monkeypox without the k.  Thought that was funny considering the money being made from the C-19 vac. Not going to live in a vacuum for this one either. Life as we know it has to go on. So, pray a lot and hope we never get this one either. The Lord is always in charge and knows what he is doing. I will just lift this up to him and let him take care of it. My trust and faith lay in the Lord for all this mess that is going on. I really am tired of having to be so watchful of all the mess and trying to prepare. But it is something we must continue to do. And I am sure all of you like me are tired of trying to keep up with inflation and gas prices. Getting harder and harder to do as the prices of everything keeps going up more and more. And now Monkeypox. 

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Gotta love "The Bee" (Babylon Bee, that is.)




"WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Monkeypox pandemic has finally breached the shores of the United States, with the CDC confirming a staggering 1 infections so far. In response, America's favorite, most trusted doctor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, issued a statement recommending people stop the spread of Monkeypox by covering their eyes, ears, and mouth."


The nose! Don't forget the nose! Get those C.o.v.i.d. masks out of storage and cover up that nose!!! 🤣🤣🤣

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The problem is that this is the two-week spread of a disease that is not supposed to easily spread from human to human.  Any time a disease changes the way it travels, the science community sits up and takes notice.  They wonder what else about it is changing.

WHO chart from https://www.who.int/emergencies/disease-outbreak-news/item/2022-DON385

1-5 is a category, as are 6-10, 11-20, 21-30, 31-40, etc.

Edited by Ambergris
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Even if these confirmed cases are at the lowest of their category that’s still over seventy confirmed cases and 19 suspected cases.  I’m glad they are following the changes.  I wonder, though, how many other diseases they are following that show similar changes.  

Lyme disease comes to mind. There are 476,000 new cases each year in the US alone and it is now believed that over 2 million people world wide suffer from post-treatment Lyme disease in over 80 countries with the suggestion that it might be spreading via other vectors including (possibly) human to human.  Admittedly I am probably biased because of being one of those sufferers but I see no WHO or media concern about the changes Lyme is making.  :shrug: 

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VLA15 is on fast-track, at least.  I was really downcast when they discontinued the old Lyme vaccine, but it didn't last but ten years or so and had other problems, so I never got it.  I'm watching the development of this new one as closely as I can.  When I remember the project exists, that is.

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The old vax was discontinued after realizing that if a person had had Lyme they got seriously Ill with the vaccine.  Hopefully this new one will come with less problems.   What I don’t understand is why there is an effective vaccine for dogs and not people.  There are also fairly affordable and effective treatments for dogs even if they have had it long term.  Not so humans.  

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So....forgive my ignorance. I thought Monkeypox was less....everything than Chickenpox. Why the panic?? I don't understand. Grant it, it doesn't look like fun, but I'm not sure I'd throw words like lock-down and quarantine around again. Been there, done that. What am I missing???

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Monkeypox is considerably worse than chickenpox.  Untreated, one percent of the people who get the light monkeypox die, and ten percent of the people who get the worse monkeypox die.  (The light one is the one that is spreading oddly.)  Before there was a chicken pox vaccine, there were about 100 deaths per four million cases.


One person in New York City, and probably one person in Broward County, Florida (a traveler).



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