At least two people have tested positive for monkey pox in Berlin, authorities said on Saturday, warning that more cases are likely to emerge in the coming days.
The rare infectious disease, which causes distinct pustules but is rarely fatal, is endemic in parts of central and western Africa.
In recent weeks, more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases have been recorded in Europe, as well as in the United States, Canada and Australia.
What do we know about the affairs of Berlin?
Health officials in Berlin said both patients were in stable condition. Efforts had begun to trace their contacts.
Public broadcaster RBB said at least one patient was believed to have been infected at a club in Berlin.
It is not known which of the two groups (or “clades”) of the virus the two patients contracted.
So far, all of the cases recorded in Europe belong to the milder West African cluster, rather than the more severe Central African cluster.
Other confirmed and suspected cases in Germany
Friday, Germany has recorded its first monkeypox infection in a patient from the southern city of Munich, who had traveled from Portugal via Spain.
The patient, a 26-year-old Brazilian national, contracted the milder West African variant, the Bavarian health ministry said.
Authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia told German news agency dpa on Saturday that several other people may have come into contact with the virus, although cases have yet to be confirmed.
Also on Saturday, Switzerland recorded its first case. The health directorate of the canton of Bern said that the patient probably came into contact with the virus while abroad.
Confirmed cases in New York, Tel Aviv
A spokesman for Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv told AFP that a 30-year-old man who recently returned to Israel from Western Europe with symptoms had tested positive.
On Friday evening, New York City confirmed its first case after recording two possible infections.
Cases have been recorded in Britain, France, Spain and Sweden, among other countries.
WHO: Cases motivated by sexual touching
The World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said on Friday that most early cases of the virus were among men who have sex with men seeking treatment at sexual health clinics. .
He warned that cases could accelerate in the coming months.
Spanish authorities are investigating whether the Maspalomas Gay Pride festival on the tourist island of Gran Canaria may have been the source of several infections, El País reported daily on Saturday.
Citing sources in the health sector, the newspaper reported that men from Madrid, Italy and the neighboring island of Tenerife who tested positive for the virus were said to have taken part in the celebrations.
Tens of thousands of people attended the Pride festival from May 5-15.
On Friday, authorities closed a Madrid sauna identified as a possible place of infection.
Spain has so far confirmed 30 cases, with more than 39 suspects, media reported on Saturday.
More than 20 cases have been confirmed in neighboring Portugal, according to the public newspaper.
What is monkey pox?
The monkeypox virus originates from primates and other wild animals and causes fever, body aches, chills and fatigue in most human patients.
The virus only occasionally causes severe symptoms, including a chickenpox-like rash and sores on the face, hands, and other parts of the body.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets from an infected person, as well as through shared objects such as bedding or towels.
Monkeypox usually goes away after two to four weeks, according to the World Health Organization. However, it can be fatal, especially in people with immune disorders.
mm/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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