Rare disease spreads in Europe — Analysis
Monkeypox, previously found in Portugal and UK, has been reported in Madrid to infect gay men.
Health authorities in Spain have issued an alert over a potential outbreak of monkeypox – a rare and incurable viral infection – in Madrid. Similar outbreaks have been reported in Portugal and UK. All of the Spanish victims are homosexual men.
Spain’s Ministry of Health sent an alert to regional health authorities on Tuesday, after health officials in Madrid recorded eight suspected cases of monkeypox. Samples have been sent to Spain’s National Center for Microbiology for a definitive diagnosis.
“Generally speaking, monkeypox is spread by respiratory transmission, but the characteristics of the eight suspected cases point towards fluid contact,” a spokesperson for Madrid’s regional health department told the Guardian. “The eight suspected cases in Madrid are among men who have sex with men. They are doing well but this illness can require hospital treatment.”
Monkeypox can also be mistaken for chickenpox. It is very similar to smallpox in humans. The initial signs include fever, headaches, muscle aches and backaches, swelling of lymph nodes, fatigue, and swollen lymph glands. A rash can spread to other areas of the body from the initial site, which is often the face.
Monkeypox is not curable, but most people experience only mild symptoms that resolve within weeks.
Similar outbreaks in Portugal and the UK have been reported in Spain. This week around 20 cases of monkeypox have been reported in young men near Lisbon. A similar outbreak was discovered earlier this month. The UK Health Security Agency had confirmed seven cases, including four recent ones involving bisexual or gay men.
In West and Central Africa where the disease is common, monkeypox can also be contracted from wild animals like rats, mice and squirrels. The UK’s first case involved a patient with “a recent travel history from Nigeria,”According to UKHSA.
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