Portugal discovered 5 cases of monkeypox in men with the spread of the disease

Portugal discovered 5 cases of monkeypox in men with the spread of the disease

LISBON, Portugal (AFP) – Portuguese health authorities on Wednesday confirmed five cases of monkeypox in young men, and Britain announced two new cases, indicating an unusual outbreak in Europe of a disease usually confined to Africa.

Portugal’s Directorate General of Health said it is also investigating 15 suspected cases, all of which were identified this month in the area around the capital, Lisbon.

The authorities said all of the Portuguese cases concerned men, mostly young men. They have skin lesions and have been reported to be in a stable condition. Officials did not say whether the two men had a history of traveling to Africa or any connection to recent cases in Britain or elsewhere.

In the United States on Wednesday, Massachusetts health officials reported a case of monkeypox in a resident who had traveled to Canada, and investigators are examining whether it was linked to the outbreak in Europe.

British health authorities said on Wednesday they had identified two new cases of monkeypox, one in London and one in southeast England. They said neither of the patients had previously traveled to Africa and that they were likely infected in the UK, and the two cases had no known links to other previously confirmed patients, suggesting there may be multiple chains of monkeypox transmission in the country.

Dr Susan Hopkins, Senior Medical Adviser to Britain’s Health Security Agency, said the recent cases, along with other infections reported in Europe, “confirm our initial concerns that monkeypox may be spreading within our communities”.

The agency said the latest cases were seen “mostly in gay and bisexual people or men who have sex with men,” although it noted that it was unclear exactly how people were infected.

The spread of monkeypox through sex has not previously been documented, but it can be transmitted through close contact with infected people, their clothing, or bed linen.

Earlier this week, the British agency reported four cases of monkeypox that they said had spread among gay and bisexual men in London. The risk to the general population “remains low,” the agency said.

Health authorities in Spain’s central Madrid region said late Wednesday that they were evaluating 23 possible cases of monkeypox. They said that all of the suspected cases were young men and that the majority had had sex with other men.

This disease belongs to a family of viruses that includes smallpox. Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the World Health Organization says the disease is fatal for up to 1 in 10 people who are infected. Sporadic cases of monkeypox have previously been seen in countries including Britain and the United States, but nearly all of them have been in people who were likely infected while traveling in Africa.

Dr Ibrahim Seuss Fall, WHO’s assistant director-general for emergency response, said the spread of monkeypox in the UK needed to be investigated to understand how the disease was transmitted between MSM.

Fall said health officials still need to better understand how monkeypox is generally spread, even in countries where the disease is endemic.

He noted that although there were more than 6,000 cases reported in Congo and nearly 3,000 in Nigeria last year, there were still “a lot of unknowns regarding the transmission dynamics.”

Britain previously reported three previous cases of monkeypox, two of them in people who lived in the same household and the third in a person who had traveled to Nigeria, where the disease is most common in animals.

The virus usually spreads to people from infected animals such as rodents, although human-to-human transmission has been known to occur.

Some British experts said it was too early to conclude that monkeypox was sexually spread, although outbreaks there point to that possibility.

“The recent cases point to a potential new means of spread,” said Neil Mabout, a disease expert at the University of Edinburgh, adding that related viruses are known to spread through sex.

Keith Neal, an infectious disease expert at the University of Nottingham, said transmission may not have occurred through sexual activity, but only “close contact associated with intercourse”.

Monkeypox usually causes fever, chills, a rash, and lesions on the face or genitals similar to those caused by smallpox. A vaccine developed against smallpox has been approved against monkeypox, and several antivirals also appear to be effective.


Cheng reported from London. Joe Wilson in Barcelona, ​​Spain, and Aretz Parra in Madrid contributed to this report.

2022-05-18 22:47:26

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