Two middle-aged men were diagnosed with monkeypox in Iceland yesterday on an initial test, according to a notice from the Directorate of Health. Samples will be sent abroad as soon as possible to confirm the diagnosis. There is an overwhelming probability that the diagnosis is correct. The infection can be traced to a trip to Europe and neither of the men is seriously ill.
“Monkey pox is not a highly contagious viral disease, but is transmitted mainly through close and prolonged contact such as sexual intercourse but also through droplets from the airway. Infections can also be transmitted through clothing, towels, and bedding,” the notice explains.
A person with monkeypox can be contagious for up to three weeks, with the risk of infection ending when the last blister on the skin has healed. While the person is contagious, they need to be in isolation. People exposed to the infection need to be for up to three weeks.
The Directorate of Health encourages anyone who experiences an outbreak of bumps or blisters on the skin, especially on or near the genitals to go into isolation and contact the National Hospital’s Dermatology and Sexual Infection Ward, the Infectious Diseases Ward, or their local health clinic for further advice on diagnosis and treatment. The Directorate of health encourages people to avoid close contact with strangers, including sex, especially during their travels abroad.
“The main way to prevent the widespread spread of monkey pox in Iceland is to avoid the transmission routes/risks that can lead to infection and to seek diagnosis as early in the disease’s development as possible.”
The Ministry of Health, in consultation with the Icelandic Medicines Agency, is working to obtain antiviral drugs and vaccines that could benefit selected individuals against the infection.