Monkeypox could become a permanent infectious disease in Europe if it spreads to pets, experts say. The ECDC (European Center for Disease Control) has urged the public to “manage exposed pets and prevent disease transmission to wildlife”.
The ECDC said on Monday: “If human-to-human transmission occurs and the virus spreads in an animal population, there is a risk that the disease could become endemic in Europe.
“Rodents, and in particular species of the family Sciuridae (squirrels) are likely to be suitable hosts, more so than humans, and transmission from humans to (pet) animals is theoretically possible.
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“Such a spillover event could potentially lead to the establishment of the virus in European wildlife and the disease becoming an endemic zoonosis. The probability of this spillover event is very low.
Confirmed cases of monkeypox in the UK more than doubled to 57. The figure, released by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on Monday, was an increase from 20 previously confirmed cases.
There are 56 confirmed cases in England and Scotland confirmed its first case on Monday. Professor David Robertson, from the Glasgow Center for Virus Research, said: “It would seem sensible to monitor all animals/pets that infected people come into contact with.”