First case of monkeypox identified in Estonia

Ahvirõuged. Demonstration till stöd för Ukraina på Frihetstorget: Shutterstock

The infectious diseases lab of the Health Board confirmed on June 28 the first case of monkeypox in Estonia.

The patient, a middle-aged man, became infected in a foreign country and had no close contacts in Estonia as far as the Health Board knows. The patient displays the characteristic symptoms of monkeypox. This is so far the only case of the disease in Estonia.

According to Irina Donchenko, advisor of the Health Board department of infectious diseases, the identification and laboratory confirmation of monkeypox is carried out in the infectious diseases laboratory of the Health Board.

The symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of common smallpox, but are milder. The disease is characterized by a skin rash, mostly on the face, palms, soles of the feet and genitals. Fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills and tiredness may occur in the early stages of the disease. Most people recover within a few weeks and it is usually a self-healing disease.

Monkeypox does not spread easily between humans and the risk of its wider spreading is considered low. People with sexually risky behavior (numerous sexual partners, participation in sexual networking events, including MSM) are more likely to become infected with monkeypox. To prevent infection, it is important to follow general hygiene rules and avoid accidental sexual contact. If monkeypox is suspected, a physician should be consulted.

On June 20, Postimees wrote that two suspected cases had been identified in Estonia at the time, but laboratory examination did not confirm these suspicions.