Spain and Portugal have discovered about 30 suspected cases of monkey pox, officials said Wednesday after British authorities found several cases of the viral infection that is rare in Europe.
Health officials have noted that some of Britain’s infections can occur through sexual contact – in this case among gay or bisexual men – which would be a new development in understanding the transmission of the virus.
The World Health Organization said on Tuesday it was in consultation with the UK to investigate the outbreak.
In Portugal, 20 suspected cases of monkey pox — endemic to parts of central and western Africa — have been discovered in the Lisbon region, the health ministry said in a statement.
“The cases were all among men, the majority of them young, with ulcerative lesions,” it added.
In Spain, authorities have identified eight suspected cases of the smallpox-like disease that are “yet to be confirmed” through analysis, the health ministry said.
Spanish and Portuguese health authorities have not released any information about the monkeypox patients’ sexual orientation or suspected cases.
Symptoms of monkey pox in humans include lesions, fever, muscle aches and chills. Most people recover from the illness within a few weeks.
Transmission usually occurs through close contact with infected animals such as rodents and monkeys, and is limited between humans. It has only been fatal on rare occasions.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), a public health protection agency, said on Monday it had discovered four new cases after it had previously registered three cases in May.
All four additional cases were men who have sex with men or identify themselves as gay or bisexual, the UKHSA said.
No one has connections to the three previously confirmed cases, the first of which was linked to travel from Nigeria, raising fears of the virus spreading in the community.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)