Luxembourgh Times

First case of monkeypox detected in Luxembourg

The World Health Organization is set to determine next week whether the global outbreak is an international emergency

A PCR test conducted in Spain to detect monkeypox

A PCR test conducted in Spain to detect monkeypox © Photo credit: Carlos Luján/EUROPA PRESS/dpa

One person is being treated in a Luxembourg hospital for the monkeypox virus – the first case in the country – the Health ministry said on Thurdsay.

The person is in “excellent” condition and authorities are now tracing the patient’s contacts to try to find the source of the spread, the ministry said in a press release.

The global monkeypox outbreak began when a cluster of cases was detected in the United Kingdom at the beginning of last month. The first person to have contracted the virus had travelled to Nigeria, where the disease is endemic, but the disease has likely been spreading before in Europe, some experts say.

Since mid-May, cases have been reported across the continents and close to 2,000 cases have now been confirmed globally.

Monkeypox is a viral infection and symptoms – such as a fever - start to show a week or two after contracting the virus. Patients then have a rash which can last for weeks. Current infections seem less deadly than in previous outbreaks and children are at higher risk than adults, experts have said. The EU is now ordering around 100,000 doses of a vaccine against the virus.

There is no need for great concern yet, one of Luxembourg's top virologists, Claude Muller, said in an interview with RTL on Monday.

Monkeypox did not use to transmit easily between humans, but that has now changed in Western countries, Muller said. "Just because we had a pandemic, doesn’t mean we’ll have another pandemic", he added.

The World Health Organization is set to meet next week to determine whether the outbreak should be declared an “emergency of international concern”. The organisation is also considering changing the name of the virus as its current name could single out geographical regions and animals.

Luxembourg urged anyone with symptoms – such as a rash, fever, headache, muscle pain, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and fatigue – to get in touch with the national infectious diseases service and to avoid close contact with others.

(Additional reporting by Yannick Hansen)