Monkeypox could spread to pets and wildlife and become endemic in Europe, health officials warned yesterday.
Experts on the Continent sounded the alarm as it was announced that cases in the UK have almost tripled in three days.
Another 37 cases were confirmed in addition to the 20 already identified, taking the total to 57.
As of yesterday, there were 67 confirmed cases cases of monkeypox in nine European countries, including Spain, Italy, Germany, Sweden and France, and at least 42 suspected cases.
A rapid risk-assessment published by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said pet rodents, such as rats and mice should ideally be isolated in ‘monitored facilities’ if they belong to close contacts of infected people.
In Africa, where monkeypox is endemic, or well established, the virus is often in rodents including squirrels and dormice.
The ECDC said rodents and squirrels could be ‘suitable hosts’ and a ‘spill-over event’, where the virus spreads from people to…