Monkeypox virus detected in Portugal is less aggressive: Scientists

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of Tuesday, there were 131 monkeypox cases and 106 suspected cases in 19 countries outside of Africa, since the first case was reported on May 7.

monkeypox virus, monkeypox cases,
This 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, left, and spherical immature virions, right, obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. Israeli authorities said late Saturday, May 21, 2022, they have detected the country's first case of monkeypox in a man who returned from abroad and were looking into other suspected cases. (Image Source: AP)

The National Institute of Health Doutor Ricardo Jorge said on Tuesday that the monkeypox virus circulating in Portugal belongs to a less aggressive lineage spreading in West Africa. According to a report by news agency ANI, the team of researchers led by Joao Paulo Gomes, head of the Bioinformatics Unit of the Institute’s Department of Infectious Diseases, has completed the genome-sequencing of the monkeypox virus spreading in the country, Gomes told Lusa news agency.

The virus in Portugal “is more closely related to the monkeypox virus from Nigeria,” which was detected in 2018 and 2019 in countries, including Britain, Israel, and Singapore, the expert said, noting that there is another more aggressive lineage of monkeypox circulating in Central Africa, as reported by ANI.

“In theory, it evolves more than we expected. Eventually, we will be able to see that these genomic traits may be associated with greater transmissibility, we don’t know yet,” he said.

Although “there is no reason for concern,” the microbiologist called on countries “to act, to block the chains of transmission, to carry out strong surveillance and quickly dismiss all suspected cases.”

Monkeypox is a rare disease, which can spread through direct contact with bodily fluids or through contact with contaminated clothes or bedsheets.

Portugal has so far confirmed 39 cases, with all patients aged between 27 and 61, most of them under 40 years old.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of Tuesday, there were 131 monkeypox cases and 106 suspected cases in 19 countries outside of Africa, since the first case was reported on May 7.

(With inputs from ANI)

Get live Share Market updates and latest India News and business news on Financial Express. Download Financial Express App for latest business news.

Most Read In News Healthcare
Photos