Spain and Portugal detect more than 40 suspected cases of rare monkeypox disease

The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was coordinating with the UK to investigate the outbreak.


Spain and Portugal have detected more than 40 suspected cases of monkeypox, a viral infection rarely seen in Europe, with the two outbreaks concentrated in the regions of Madrid and Lisbon, officials said on Wednesday.

The announcement came just days after UK health authorities said they had detected seven cases so far this month, with the World Health Organization working with the government to investigate the outbreak.

Health officials have noted that some of these infections can be through sexual contact – in this case in gay or bisexual men – which would be a new development in understanding how the virus is transmitted.

In a statement, health authorities in the Madrid region said they had detected “23 possible cases of monkeypox”, indicating that they were all believed to have been sexually transmitted.

“In general, its transmission is by respiratory drops but the characteristics of the 23 suspected infections indicate that it is transmitted by bodily fluids during sexual relations,” the statement said, without giving further details.

“All of them are young adult men and most are men who have sex with other men, but not all of them,” Elena Andradas, public health officer for the Madrid region, told Cadena Ser radio. .

Twenty other suspected cases of monkeypox – endemic in parts of central and western Africa – have been detected in the Lisbon region, the Portuguese health ministry said in a statement.

“The cases all involved men, the majority of them young, who had ulcerative lesions,” he said.

Symptoms of monkeypox in humans include a rash that often starts on the face and then moves to other parts of the body, fever, muscle aches, and chills. Most people recover from the disease within a few weeks.

Transmission usually occurs through close contact with infected animals such as rodents and monkeys, and is limited between people. It has only been fatal in rare cases.

The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA), a public health protection body, said on Monday it had detected four new cases after registering three cases earlier in May.

The four additional cases were men who have sex with men or identify as gay or bisexual, he added.

None have known links to the previous three confirmed cases, the first of which was linked to travel from Nigeria, raising fears of community spread of the virus.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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