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A Belgian fetish festival has confirmed that three cases of monkeypox have been linked to the event by health authorities.
There have been numerous reports of cases of the virus across Europe in the past week, and now the Darklands festival which took place in Antwerp has warned patrons who attended four-days of festivities from May 5 to be watchful for symptoms.
As it stands, those cases are the only three that have been reported in Belgium.
The event organisers issued a statement in which they claimed that the virus could have been brought into the event by people attending from abroad, as well as offering advice on what to do if infection is suspected.
The statement reads: “The health department of the Belgian government has confirmed 3 cases of the Monkeypox virus linked to visitors at Darklands.
“There’s reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries. The Risk Assessment Group of the federal government has asked Darklands to inform it’s guest about these infections and share the following information:
“Monkeypox has an incubation period of 5 to 21 days. Be vigilant during the three weeks after your last close contact.
“If you notice unusual blisters or injuries, please go to the ER unit of a nearby hospital [and] mention you suspect Monkeypox.
“If the suspicion is confirmed, those persons will need to quarantine for 3 weeks without having sexual contacts.”
That statement was accompanied by a full statement from the Belgian authorities, which said that the risk to the general population is ‘generally low’ and that transmission occurs via ‘close contact with an infected person’.
They explained: “Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that occurs in West Africa and does not spread easily among the population.
“For transmission, a person must have had close contact with an infected person (including through droplet transmission), or contact with clothing or linens used by an infected person to transmit the infection.
“Monkeypox can therefore be transmitted through sexual contact. However, the risk to the general population is low.
“After an incubation period of 5 to 21 days, infected individuals typically go through a period of mild symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes and fatigue."
“Skin rashes may develop, often on the face, but also in the genital area. The rash changes and goes through several stages, from a pimple to a blister, until finally a crust forms.
“A person is especially contagious during the period when there are skin lesions, but transmission in the days before the symptoms are not excluded.
“Most people recover within a few weeks. Exceptionally, these symptoms can be more severe.
The statement concluded: “At present, the symptoms reported in Europe are mostly mild in cases, and no deaths have been reported.”
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