The first symptoms are similar to those of chickenpox, but milder. They include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. There may be a rash, which usually starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body
Spanish Health Minister Carolina Darias has warned regional governments to be on alert for possible cases of the monkeypox virus after eight suspected cases were detected in Madrid. The National Microbiology Center is analyzing samples to confirm whether or not they have this disease, as cases have been recorded in several countries in recent days.
The alarm was raised by the UK two days ago, where seven cases were reported. All were men who had sex with other men, although there was no epidemiological link between them, indicating the existence of different chains of infection. Meanwhile, Portugal has confirmed three cases via PCR tests, has two more suspected cases and 15 more under investigation.
“We believe there may be community transmission of this disease and we urge gay and bisexual men in particular to look for any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay,” said Susan Hopkins, counselor to the UK Health Safety Agency (UKSHA).
Endemic to Nigeria
The first case was in someone infected in Nigeria, where the monkeypox virus is endemic, but the others caught it in the UK. In any case, the agency stresses that “the virus does not spread easily between people and the risk to the British population is low”.
According to the UKSHA, the monkeypox virus is commonly associated with people who have visited West Africa. It is normally a mild, self-limiting illness contracted through very close contact with someone infected with the monkeypox virus, and most people with it recover within a few weeks.
The first symptoms are similar to those of chickenpox, but milder. They include fever, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, chills, and exhaustion. There may be a rash, which usually starts on the face and then spreads to other parts of the body, including the genitals. The rash changes and goes through different stages, and may look like chickenpox or syphilis, before eventually forming a scab that later falls off.
The disease was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks were detected in colonies of monkeys kept for research purposes, although the first human case was reported in August 1970 in Bokenda, a remote village in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The first infections occurred by contact with infected animals, then between humans, where the transmission took place by saliva, respiratory excretions, contact with an oozing wound or scab, as well as by faeces. Experts say it is not only transmitted through same-sex relationships, as anyone who comes into contact with infected fluids can catch it. They also say that the type causing the outbreaks in Europe is milder than the type in central Africa, which is potentially more dangerous.