Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director for the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention’s division of high consequence pathogens and pathology, said: “Given that have seen now confirm cases out of Portugal, suspected cases out of Spain, we’re seeing this expansion of confirmed and suspected cases globally, we have a sense that no one has their arms around this to know how large and expansive it might be.
“And given how much travel there is between the United States and Europe, I am very confident we’re going to see cases in the United States.”
The majority of cases confirmed to date have been in men who are gay, bisexual, or who have sex with other men, triggering suspicions cases may have been passed on during sex.
The disease, however, is not normally sexually transmitted and can be spread through contact with clothing, bedding or towels.
READ MORE: Monkeypox: The five main symptoms to spot and how to reduce your risk – pharmacist
Officials announced on Wednesday [May 18] that Spain and Portugal had detected more than 40 suspected cases of the infection.
Both outbreaks, they said, were concentrated in the nations’ capitals; Madrid and Lisbon.
In a statement, Spanish Authorities explained that 23 “possible cases of monkeypox” had been detected in the Madrid region.
All cases are believed to have been transmitted through sexual contact, but propose are underway to confirm this.
Doctor Susan Hopkins, the chief medical adviser at UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), said: “These latest cases, together with reports of cases in countries across Europe, confirm our initial concerns that there could be spread of monkeypox without our communities.
“UKHSA has quickly identified cases so far and we continue to rapidly investigate the source of these infections and raise awareness among healthcare professionals.”
The body is in contact with anyone who may have come into close contact with those infected with the virus, to provide further information.
Monkeypox was first discovered in West Africa in 1958, and is widely believed to be spread by rodents, contrary to what the name suggests.
According to Pharmacist Navin Khosla, Superintendent Pharmacist at FROM MARS, common symptoms of the disease include a high temperature, muscle aches, swollen glands, fatigue and shivering.
The CDC adds chills and exhaustion to this list and says that symptoms of monkeypox are comparable to those of smallpox.
The body states: “Within one to three days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face then spreading to other parts of the body.”
The illness typically lasts between two to four weeks and has been shown to cause death in as many as one in 10 people in Africa.