Health

Portugal confirms 5 cases of monkeypox, Spain finds 8 suspicious cases

Not likely that monkeypox will be widely transmitted, but we can’t rule it out, says Spain’s chief epidemiologist

Alyssa McMurtry   | 18.05.2022
Portugal confirms 5 cases of monkeypox, Spain finds 8 suspicious cases

OVIEDO, Spain

Portugal confirmed five cases of monkeypox on Wednesday as Spain’s health body issued an alert over its first suspected cases of the infectious disease.

While the Portuguese Health Ministry has confirmed five cases, it is studying more than 20 suspicious cases, all in men, mostly young, and in the region surrounding Lisbon, according to a statement.

Spain has detected eight suspicious cases in Madrid, according to documents seen by leading daily El Pais.

“It’s not likely that monkeypox will be widely transmitted, but we can’t rule it out,” said Spain’s chief epidemiologist Fernando Simon.

The first known transmission of monkeypox on the Iberian peninsula comes as the UK studies its largest outbreak.

So far, UK authorities have identified seven cases of monkeypox in little more than a month.

The UK Health Security Agency has emphasized that the virus does not spread easily between people.

However, the British agency has asked gay and bisexual men “to be alert” to possible symptoms such as rashes or lesions on their bodies because the four most recent cases were identified within those groups.

Spain’s Simon explained that historically the virus has been limited to Africa and the outbreaks have been small.

“The outbreaks didn’t have more than a second generation of transmission, but in recent years, scientists have detected up to three or four generations of transmission,” explained the Spanish epidemiologist.

Monkeypox can be spread when someone is in close contact with an infected person, according to the UK Health Security Agency.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the symptoms of monkeypox begins with fever, headache, muscle aches and exhaustion. After a few days, patients can develop a rash that goes through different stages before scabbing.

The illness typically lasts between two to four weeks.

While generally mild, in Africa, monkeypox has been shown to cause death in as many as 10% of those who contract the disease.

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