Several persons in the Netherlands tested positive for monkeypox Saturday, just one day after the country’s first case was identified, National Institute for Public Health (RIVM) said in a statement.
Health officials said they are “investigating other possible cases” of the rare but potentially serious viral infection typically seen in central and western Africa. The RIVM gave no indication as to how the infected individuals might have caught the virus, which has recently been reported in Europe, Australia and North America. The institute said it “will provide an update on Monday.”
Monkeypox is a viral infection that does not spread easily between people and symptoms include fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes. The RIVM said “the disease is usually mild in humans.” Nevertheless, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control advises that “[a]ny persons presenting with symptoms indicative of monkeypox should seek specialist care and should abstain from sexual activities or any other type of activities involving close contact until monkeypox is either excluded or the infection is resolved.”
Health specialists say vaccines used to eradicate smallpox also provide some protection against monkeypox.