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Monkeypox: Fourth case detected by KU Leuven also linked to Antwerp festival
A fourth person has been diagnosed with the monkeypox virus in Belgium, KU Leuven announced on Saturday evening.
The man identified with the virus is from the province of Liège, RTBF reports.
Virologist Marc Van Ranst said the fourth contamination in Belgium, like the three other cases, was linked to the international fetish festival Darklands. The festival, which took place in Antwerp at the beginning of May, is currently providing information for visitors who shows signs of symptoms.
“It’s important that everyone who was present at the Darklands festival remains vigilant for any symptoms,” warned Van Ranst. "In case of smallpox lesions, a sample can be taken in an emergency department, and close contact with other people should be avoided."
Virologist Piet Maes of KU Leuven said there was no need for concern about a major outbreak of monkeypox in Belgium, reports VRT. He pointed out that the over 50s were protected via the small pox vaccination campaign that continued until 1981.
Most patients recover from monkeypox in a few weeks. The virus is mainly a concern for vulnerable people, such as those with weakened immune systems or who are pregnant.
Usually found only in West and Central Africa, the World Health Organization expects more cases of monkeypox to emerge now that countries are being further checked for the presence of the virus. It has been identified in at least 12 countries where it’s not usually present.
In addition to Belgium, the countries where the virus has been detected are the Netherlands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Canada, the US and Australia. Israel and Switzerland have also reported cases.