A British tourist and his partner in Greece are suspected of having the first cases of monkeypox in Greece. The rare infection has been spreading throughout Europe and the Americas since it was first diagnosed in the UK in May.
The 29-year-old, along with his asymptomatic traveling companion, is currently in isolation in Attikon Hospital, located in Athens, and is being tested for the rare and often mild infection.
Although the results of the test have not yet been confirmed, the man’s doctors believe that he has likely been infected with the virus due to his symptoms and connection to the UK. The results are expected to come back on Monday.
The couple had been vacationing on the Greek island of Kefalonia when the man began having symptoms of the infection. The pair were then transported to Athens to be treated and tested for the virus.
The EpiGuard plane that carried the two patients from the island was constructed in Norway specifically for transporting patients with infectious diseases such as COVID-19 and Ebola. The plane’s cabin is completely airtight and allows for medical staff to remain free of infection.
The monkeypox infection is most commonly found in quite remote areas of Central and West Africa. The first case of the recent bout of monkeypox was identified in the UK on May 7th in a patient who had recently traveled to Nigeria.
It is highly likely that they contracted monkeypox there before returning to the UK, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
Case of monkeypox likely identified in Greece
Although the infection has recently spread to numerous countries, it is not very contagious, and there is very little risk of widespread infection.
The virus is typically transmitted through close contact with an infected person, including through sexual contact, and can enter the body through the eyes, mouth, and open wounds.
Additionally, the disease can also be transmitted through contact with infected animals.
The smallpox vaccine is being administered to those at risk of becoming infected with the virus in the UK.
Although they are not the same infection, smallpox and monkeypox are similar enough that the smallpox vaccine is 85 percent effective in preventing against infection of the virus.
Symptoms of monkeypox include: fever, aches, pain, fatigue, headache in the early stages, and then a rash, much like small pox, that commonly appears on the hands and feet.
This rash is often itchy and uncomfortable, and scratching the bumps can cause scarring.