Spain, Italy, and Sweden became the latest European countries to report their first cases of monkeypox on Thursday.
The United Kingdom and Portugal have also confirmed positive cases of the disease, which derives from the western and central African mainland and rarely spreads further afield. France also announces the first suspicions of the disease.
France has also reported potential cases which are as of yet unconfirmed.
Health authorities in Madrid are examining 22 people, but the number is likely to rise, according to local Deputy Health Councilor Antonio Zapatero. According to official information, the symptoms of those infected are mild.
Italy reported its first case on Thursday — a young Italian tourist who recently returned from the Canary Islands ended up in quarantine in Rome. Hygienists are now investigating two other cases across the country. The positive case in Sweden was also reported on Thursday.
In France, potential cases have been identified in the central region of Île-de-France.
Recently, the United Kingdom and Portugal reported the incidence of the disease. The former has prompted authorities to offer a smallpox vaccine to key workers which is understood to have previously been up to 85 percent effective against monkeypox. In the latter country, the number of people infected has risen to 14.
There are typically two strains of monkeypox, the West African strain which has a fatality rate of approximately 1 percent, and the more severe Congo strain which can result in mortality in up to 10 percent of cases.
Fever, headache, and/or muscle pain are the typically common symptoms with the disease able to last up to three weeks.
This year’s first case of monkeypox in Europe was detected in early May in a man traveling from Africa to Britain. Since 2020, Africa has successfully tackled several outbreaks. However, spreading to non-African countries has raised questions among experts, such as virus mutations and new modes of transmission.
Monkeypox was first reported in humans in the 1970s in Congo. Cases from other African countries were later reported. The disease got its name after the macaque monkey, in which scientists first discovered the virus in the late 1950s.