MADRID – Two patients who had previously contracted monkeypox have been re-diagnosed with the disease at hospitals in Barcelona and Madrid. This intriguing phenomenon has caught the attention of specialists and researchers.
Previously, it was believed that experiencing monkeypox once provided lifelong immunity. However, only six similar cases have been reported worldwide, with one in the UK, one in Switzerland, two in Italy, and two in Brazil. Experts are concerned that there may have been many more undetected cases, which could contribute to the unnoticed circulation of the virus and potentially lead to a new outbreak.
First patient Infected after vaccine
One of the patients, a 30-year-old man in Madrid, had initially contracted the disease in September 2022. He was then diagnosed again in March of this year. Moreover, he had received a vaccine dose shortly before the first infection. The details of his case will be presented at the upcoming congress of the Spanish Society of Infectious Diseases and Clinical Microbiology.
Second patient vaccinated against smallpox during childhood
The other patient, a 51-year-old man in Barcelona, had been vaccinated against smallpox during childhood. He was being treated by the Department of International Health and Communicable Diseases at Drassanes, which is affiliated with Vall d’Hebron Hospital in the Spanish capital. The first case was diagnosed in July, followed by a second diagnosis in November 2022.
While there is still considerable uncertainty surrounding monkeypox, it is crucial to confirm suspected reinfections through DNA sequencing. However, technical limitations and low viral load in the patients have hindered this process thus far.
WHO concerned about potential resurgence of the virus
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressed concern about a potential resurgence of the virus. Although the number of new cases has decreased globally, the arrival of summer festivals and events raises the risk of increased infections. Furthermore, Spain has witnessed six monkeypox cases in the past three weeks alone.
To address these challenges, the Ministry of Health has launched a new campaign to enhance vaccination rates, particularly among high-risk groups and those who have recently had sexually transmitted infections. Consequently, vaccination plays a crucial role in curbing the circulation of the virus and preventing further outbreaks.
Also read: Spain’s first monkeypox death reported