Monkeypox outbreak in Spain linked to saunas as UK faces ‘significant rise’ in cases

Britain faces a “significant increase” in monkeypox cases over the next week, an expert has warned, with some health clinics stopping people from walking as they try to curb the spread of the infection.

About 80 cases have been confirmed in 12 countries. including 20 in UK – with most infections in Spain linked to saunas in Madrid.

The president of the British Association for HIV and Sexual Health (BASHH) told Sky News that some clinic staff had received the smallpox vaccine, which is effective against monkey poxand there is talk of dosing to “potential risk groups.”

Dr Claire Dewsnap said: “Our feedback is very important here.

“There will be more diagnoses over the next week. How much is hard to say.”

“What worries me the most is that there are infections all over Europe, so it’s already spreading.

“It is already circulating among the general public. Keeping track of all those people’s contacts is a big job.

“This could be a very significant number in the next two or three weeks.”

Dr Dewsnap said he expected more cases of monkeypox to be identified across the UK.

“I definitely expect a significant improvement over the next week,” he added.

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Monkeypox: what we know

Scientists baffled by the spread of monkeypox

Dr Dewsnap said he was concerned about the impact on other infections, as staff were diverted to treat monkeypox, as “public health budgets have declined significantly over the last 10 years.”

“Some clinics that have cases should advise people not to enter,” he added.

“Especially they do it because if someone has symptoms consistent with monkeypox, we don’t want people sitting in the waiting room to be able to infect other people.

“They’ve implemented telephone triage all over the place.”

Scientists say they are baffled by the disease’s recent spread in Europe and North America.

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Monkeypox usually causes mild symptoms that include fever, muscle aches and pains, and a rash that blisters and then crusts over.

Previously, cases of smallpox-related disease were only seen among people with links to central and west Africa.

But last week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, the US, Sweden and Canada reported infections, mostly in young men who had not previously traveled to Africa.

The UK’s Health Safety Board said that most of the recent cases in the UK and Europe were found in gay and bisexual men.

Saunas are linked to most cases in Spain

There are about 80 confirmed cases worldwide and another 50 suspected, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

France, Germany, Belgium and Australia reported their first cases on Friday.

In Spain, 24 new cases were reported on Friday, mainly in the Madrid area, where local authorities closed the saunas linked to most of the infections.

To date, no one has died in the outbreak.

Monkeypox usually causes fever, chills, rash, and sores on the face or genitals.

The disease, which was first detected in monkeys, can be transmitted from person to person through close physical contact and is caused by the monkeypox virus.

Read more:
Monkeypox: What do we know about the UK’s biggest virus outbreak?

How do you get it, what are the symptoms, and how easily does it spread?

Professor David Heymann, an infectious disease epidemiologist at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said: “There are two types of viruses. There is a virus in central Africa that is very deadly, has a mortality rate of 10% and causes a disease resembling smallpox.

“Fortunately, the disease hasn’t spread to Africa, and hopefully not, because people are very sick and they don’t travel.

“The disease that occurs in Europe and North America is a very mild West African strain of the virus, causes a skin rash, maybe one or two skin lesions, and can cause fever and inflammation of the skin. Lymph gland . swelling of the glands and muscle pain, but not fatal in most cases.

“It can be fatal in less than one percent of people, so it’s not a fatal disease.”

Stuart Martin

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