The increase of monkeypox cases in America and Europe in recent weeks has alarmed Greek health authorities, with the National Public Health Organization (EODY) noting however that, based on the epidemiological data so far, the risk for the general population is low.
In response to the global concern, the World Health Organization convened an extraordinary meeting on Friday.
According to EODY, the occurrence of cases in the United Kingdom among people who have not traveled or had contact with others with the disease, as well as the occurrence of sporadic cases in other countries, indicate that there is a possible transmission risk of monkeypox to the community.
“Based on the epidemiological data so far, the risk for the general population is low, as the disease is usually mild and self-limiting, with relatively little contagion,” EODY stressed and advised citizens to follow the instructions of their doctors in case of rash or unusual skin problems.
EODY also issued a series of questions and answers about the infection for the public.
Monkeypox is an extremely rare disease and a cousin of smallpox. According to health experts the natural reservoir of monkeypox remains unknown.
EODY said it can be transmitted through the respiratory system by inhalation of large droplets and by contact with infected skin lesions or contaminated materials (e.g. bed linen or towels).
Transmission is also recorded through contact with wild animals, usually primates and rodents such as rats, mice and squirrels, or even with previously infected pets.
In rare cases it can be transmitted through the consumption of meat from an infected animal that has not been adequately cooked or through contact with the skin or hair of an infected animal.