Slovenia confirms first monkeypox case

Slovenia’s chief epidemiologist Mario Fafangel was quick to dampen concerns, noting that the virus is not new and that its spread can be stopped. Several African countries have managed to contain it before, he added. [Shutterstock/Michele Ursi]

Slovenia registered its first monkeypox case after a man who came back from the Canary Islands tested positive for the disease but did not have to be hospitalised.

The man is infected with the milder West African variant, health authorities confirmed on Tuesday (24 May). His diagnosis was confirmed with three PCR tests.

Slovenia’s chief epidemiologist Mario Fafangel was quick to dampen concerns, noting that the virus is not new and that its spread can be stopped. Several African countries have managed to contain it before, he added.

The risk of the virus spreading among society at large is low, he said, citing the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the European Centres of Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Slovenia does not plan to impose a quarantine for the time being since someone can only spread the disease after they develop symptoms.

Tatjana Lejko Zupanc, the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases at the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, suggested it might make sense to vaccinate lab workers using one of the available vaccines for monkeypox. Talks on a vaccine supply are already underway.

Monkeypox cases have already been registered in several EU countries, including Spain, Italy and Denmark.

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