A health alert has been issued in Spain due to a rising number of cases of monkeypox, a rare disease caused by a virus that is transmitted from animals to humans and can be fatal.
The Ministry of Health has informed the autonomous communities that eight suspected cases have been detected in Madrid, as reported by the Spanish newspaper ‘El País’ and confirmed by Ministry sources. The cases are being analysed at the National Microbiology Centre, which has the necessary technology to confirm or rule out the diagnosis, according to sources in Madrid. Therefore, after learning of the suspected cases, Public Health followed the procedure and informed the Alert Committee of the situation. Furthermore, the Ministry is in constant contact with the European Alert System to monitor developments at a global level.
The same sources point out that although the transmission of this disease is normally through the respiratory route, the eight suspected cases indicate that transmission occurs through contact with liquids. They are all men having sexual relations with other men. They seem to be recovering well, despite the fact that the virus can lead to hospitalisation.
British person infected in Nigeria
In Spain, 22 other persons are being investigated for possible contamination. Cases of the disease have also been found in the United States, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed yesterday that the first confirmed case in England is that of a person who travelled from the UK to Nigeria from late April to early May and stayed in Lagos and Delta states. The infected person received a rash on April 29 and returned to the UK on 4 May. Five patients in Portugal have already become ill with the virus, which originates in Central Africa.
So far, no serious cases of monkeypox are known in Europe or the United States. Nevertheless, in some parts of Central Africa, the hearth, a higher than average mortality rate has been observed; the WHO estimates the risk of death due to this virus at 10%.
The main symptoms and complications are high fever and the striking skin rash, with a type of vesicle, which can appear all over the body and possibly leave chickenpox-like marks. Fever, headache, muscle pain, lymphadenopathy and fatigue are common. A few days after the onset of fever, a rash develops, often starting on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. It is usually a self-limiting disease and most people recover within a few days.
First cases in 1970
Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic disease transmitted from animals to humans. The first human cases were reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The number of cases in West and Central African countries has increased over the last decade. All cases have been associated with an imported case or contact with imported animals.