Five cases of monkeypox have been confirmed by Portuguese officials. The virus, which is uncommon in Europe, has been detected in Spain and the United Kingdom.
On Wednesday, health officials in Portugal confirmed five cases of monkeypox in young males, while officials in Massachusetts reported a case had been identified in a guy who had just gone to Canada.
According to Portugal’s General Directorate for Health, another 15 suspected cases in the area surrounding the Portuguese capital, Lisbon, are also being studied.
The United Kingdom and Spain are also investigating possible cases of the viral infection, marking an extraordinary breakout of a disease in Europe that is normally only found in Africa.
What do we know about European monkeypox cases?
According to Portuguese officials, the majority of the instances are involving young men. Officials refused to say whether they had lately visited African countries or had any ties to recent instances in the UK.
Since May 7, the UK has reported seven instances. The people involved in four of those cases appeared to be gay or bisexual, according to the UK Health Security Agency, implying that there may be communal transmission.
Spanish authorities announced on Wednesday that they were looking into 23 probable cases, all of which involved young men.
There is no scientific proof that the disease is spread through sexual contact. The diseases could have occurred as a result of the intimate physical contact required in intercourse, according to experts.
What exactly is monkeypox?
The virus causes a milder infection than smallpox. Fever and an unique bumpy rash that starts on the face and spreads to other parts of the body are common symptoms.
Monkeypox is usually over in a few weeks for most people.
Close contact with infected animals or people is the most prevalent mode of transmission, while the latter is less common.
The disease was initially discovered in Congo in the 1970s. In West Africa, the incidence of monkeypox infections has doubled in the recent decade, but in a milder variety.
The West African strain has a mortality rate of roughly 1% of patients. It’s the same strain that’s been detected in the United Kingdom.
Smallpox was eradicated by vaccination in 1980, and the vaccine has since been phased out. However, it also protects against monkeypox, and holding back of vaccination campaigns may have supported the spread of the disease.