Belgium monkeypox cases linked to fetish festival
- Belgium has reported three cases of monkeypox
- The cases are linked to a fetish festival that recently concluded in Antwerp
- All attendees have been asked to stay vigilant for unusual blisters
The Darklands Festival, the organisers of the event, warned patrons who attended the four-day festival earlier this month that authorities had linked the monkeypox cases to the event.
"There's reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries," the festival said on its website.
"The Risk Assessment Group of the federal government has asked Darklands to inform its guests about these infections."
The organisers have asked all those who attended the event to be vigilant for unusual blisters for three weeks after their last close contact.
Apart from Belgium, France and Germany also confirmed their first cases of monkeypox on Friday. Over the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the United States, Sweden, Australia and Canada have reported infections.
The World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday confirmed 80 cases of monkeypox in 11 countries so far.
"There are about 80 confirmed cases so far, and 50 pending investigations. More cases are likely to be reported as surveillance expands," the UN health agency said.
Meanwhile, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that all of the new cases self-identify as gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men (MSM).
“We are particularly urging men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay,” said Dr Susan Hopkins, UKHSA Chief Medical Adviser.
“This is rare and unusual. UKHSA is rapidly investigating the source of these infections because the evidence suggests that there may be transmission of the monkeypox virus in the community, spread by close contact,” she added.