Monkeypox: First cases found in Cuba and Indonesia as virus continues to spread

A microscopic rendering of the monkeypox virus

Indonesia and Cuba have reported their first monkeypox cases, as the outbreak continues to reach countries across the globe.

On Saturday (20 August), a spokesperson for Indonesia’s health ministry confirmed the country’s first case of monkeypox as a 27-year-old man who had returned from an unnamed country that has already reported cases, according to Reuters.

The man, who tested positive in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta, has mild symptoms and is doing “well”.

The health ministry said the man was isolating at home, and that it was not currently putting in any public health measures to prevent further spread. It has, however, acquired 10,000 doses of the smallpox/ monkeypox vaccine.

Cuba’s first confirmed monkeypox case was also confirmed on Saturday, after a tourist from Italy tested positive for the virus.

The tourist travelled to different areas of the Caribbean island before developing symptoms including skin lesions, before later going into cardiac arrest.

Although he has recovered from the cardiac arrest, he remains in a critical condition.

Since this year’s monkeypox outbreak began, the World Health Organization (WHO) has reported more than 40,000 confirmed cases across 80 countries where the virus is not endemic, including 12 deaths, and has declared a global health emergency.

In the UK, nearly 3,200 cases of the virus have been confirmed.

This month, more than 100 LGBTQ+ local councillors and London Assembly members wrote to health secretary Steve Barclay, demanding that the government provide financial support to people self-isolating.

“We cannot resign ourselves to monkeypox becoming endemic. To do so would be to fail a generation of gay and bisexual men,” they wrote.

“As LGBT+ councillors and assembly members from across the political spectrum, we are united in asking that you act now so that we do not pay a greater cost later.”

“Local authorities are well placed to support those who face financial hardship as a result of needing to self-isolate” but “this needs additional resource and leadership from government,” they added.

“Without clear guidance and reimbursement for local authorities, there is a risk that some people in severe need of financial support will be forced to choose between their health and those of others, and being able to pay the bills.”