Health authorities in Spain have alerted about a possible outbreak of monkeypox after eight men showed symptoms compatible with the viral infection, which has already been detected in the UK and Portugal.
A nationwide alert was issued in the wake of the eight suspected cases all over the region, but the health ministry cautioned that all in the Madrid region have yet to be confirmed, but the health ministry said that the eight suspected cases were being analysed by the National Microbiology Centre to obtain a definitive diagnosis.
The monkeypox is generally spread by respiratory transmission, but the characteristics of the eight suspected cases point towards fluid contact, the spokesperson said.
There are eight suspected cases in Madrid of men who have sex with men. They are doing well, but this illness can require hospital treatment. Portuguese authorities are investigating 15 suspected cases and confirmed five cases. In the UK, seven cases have been logged.
The first British case involved a person who had recently been to Nigeria, where they are believed to have contracted the disease before they can travel to the UK.
All four of the most recent cases are men who identify as gay or bisexual or other men who have sex with men, according to the UK Health Security Agency.
The health body is asking these groups to be alert to possible symptoms, which include rashes or lesions on any part of their body, including their genitalia, and to contact a sexual health service if they have concerns.
Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes and chills. A rash that can look like chickenpox or syphilis can also develop and spread from the face to other parts of the body, including the genitals. Most people recover within a few weeks.
A handful of monkeypox cases, which have two forms and are typically found in central and western Africa, have been diagnosed in the UK in the past. It is believed that the seven UK cases involve the West African strain, which is milder than the more severe Central African, or Congo strain.
In a statement on Wednesday, Portugal's health ministry said all of the cases it had detected in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region had involved men with ulcerative lesions.
It said that the UK has reported similar cases of ulcerative lesions, with confirmed monkeypox virus infection. We are monitoring the situation at national level and in conjunction with European institutions.