Antwerp: Belgium has become the first country to introduce a compulsory 21-day monkeypox quarantine — as 14 countries now confirm outbreaks of the viral disease and doctors warn of a ‘significant rise’ in UK cases, the media reported.
Those who contract the virus will now have to self-isolate for three weeks, Belgian health authorities have said, after three cases were recorded in the country.
The infections, the first of which was recorded on Friday, are all linked to a festival in the port city of Antwerp, the Daily Mail reported.
It comes as doctors have warned that the UK faces a ‘significant’ rise in infections and the government’s response is ‘critical’ in containing its spread.
Dr. Claire Dewsnap, president of the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV, has also said the outbreak could have a ‘massive impact’ on access to sexual health services in Britain.
Another 11 Britons had tested positive for the virus, taking the total to 20.
The cases include a British child currently in a critical condition at a London hospital, while a further 100 infections have been recorded in Europe.
The rare viral infection, which people usually pick up in the tropical areas of west and central Africa, can be transmitted by very close contact with an infected person.
It is usually mild, with most patients recovering within a few weeks without treatment.
However, the disease can prove fatal with the strain causing the current outbreak killing one in 100 infected.
The disease, which was first found in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact — as well as sexual intercourse, Daily Mail reported.