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Monkeypox virus case ‘highly likely’ found in Finland

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It is “highly likely” that a case of the monkeypox virus has been identified in Finland, according to health officials. 

The Helsinki hospital district said in a statement on Wednesday that a man who had just returned from a trip to another European country had an an infection caused by an orthopoxvirus. 

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By the end of the week, authorities will have determined whether or not it is monkeypox. 

“The patient that is currently at home has blisters and a high fever but otherwise he is feeling well,” the hospital district said.

FILE PHOTO: A section of skin tissue, harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey, that had been infected with monkeypox virus, is seen at 50X magnification on day four of rash development in 1968. 

FILE PHOTO: A section of skin tissue, harvested from a lesion on the skin of a monkey, that had been infected with monkeypox virus, is seen at 50X magnification on day four of rash development in 1968. 
(CDC/Handout via REUTERS.)

Monkeypox outbreaks have been detected globally these last couple of weeks, with the former World Health Organization’s (WHO) emergencies department leader telling The Associated Press that cases in Europe appear to have spread due to sexual activity at raves in Spain and Belgium. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said at a Monday telebriefing that while anyone can be infected, there is an increased risk for men in the gay and bisexual community.

Thus far, infections recorded by the World Health Organization (WHO) have been mild and no deaths have been reported. 

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While the United Nations organization noted that the outbreak is a “highly unusual event,” officials described the infections as “containable” and cautioned against stigmatizing groups. 

Traditionally, monkeypox virus is spread by touching or getting bitten by infected wild animals in western and central Africa.

The CDC said there are vaccine doses to prevent the monkeypox virus in the Strategic National Stockpile and that production will “ramp up” quickly in the coming weeks. 

In the U.S., Boston 25 reported that a man identified as the first case had been released from Massachusetts General Hospital late last week. 

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Officials in California said Tuesday that a Sacramento County resident who recently traveled to Europe – in areas where cases have been confirmed – may have the first confirmed case in the Golden State. 

The patient is isolating at home.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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