Cases of MONKEYPOX in Spain and Italy have been traced to an island festival attended by 80,000 revelers.
Authorities are trying to stop an outbreak that has exploded across Europe and beyond, with 92 cases now confirmed and dozens more suspected.
And doctors have warned that number will rise dramatically as the virus spreads across Europe and into the United States, Canada and Australia.
Spain now has the highest number of infections, outside of places in Africa where the virus is endemic, with more than 50 known cases.
Now authorities are investigating a festival in Gran Canaria after it was linked to a number of cases in Madrid, Tenerife and Italy.
The Canaria Pride festival, held in the city of Maspalomas from May 5-15, has become a hotspot for the monkeypox outbreak, reports El País.
The massive party was attended by more than 80,000 people, including three Italian men who later tested positive for the virus.
A health source told the newspaper: “Among the thirties diagnosed in Madrid, several attended the event, although it is not yet possible to know if any of them are patient zero of this epidemic or if they all got infected there.”
Public health services are currently investigating whether there have been more infections during the celebrations, including a suspected case detected in Tenerife.
The three Italians were admitted to the Spallanzani Institute for Infectious Diseases in Rome.
The centre’s director, Francesco Vaia, said: “These are three young men who say they have not had contact, although two of them explain that they have recently traveled to the Canary Islands.”
Experts have warned that although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, it could be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sex.
Many known patients are gay men who were tested after going to STI clinics, the WHO said.
Health chiefs have warned gay and bisexual men to be on the lookout new unexplained rashes.
Spain also has another monkeypox infection hotspot named Sauna Paraíso, in the Malasaña district of Madrid.
The sauna was closed on Friday by the Ministry of Health.
A number of other communities followed by reporting more cases, including Andalusia, Galicia, Catalonia, the Basque Country and Extremadura.
Health officials in New York are investigating a potential case of monkeypox after a patient tested positive for the family of viruses associated with the rare disease, state health officials said Friday evening.
The unidentified patient is isolated and treated as positive pending confirmation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New York City public health officials said earlier they were investigating two potential cases of monkeypox.
One of the cases was ruled out while the second tested positive for orthopoxvirus and suffered from illness consistent with monkeypox, the department said.
Meanwhile, Norway has started screening for possible cases of monkeypox in the capital Oslo, the country’s Institute of Public Health said on Saturday.
“A foreigner who traveled to Oslo May 6-10 has, after returning home, been confirmed to be infected,” FHI said.
Swiss health authorities have also reported the country’s first case of monkeypox in a person living in the canton of Bern.
The Bern health authority said the patient had been treated as a walk-in case and was now isolated at home. Everyone who came into contact with him had been informed, he added in a statement.
“To our knowledge, the person concerned was exposed to the virus abroad,” the statement added.
Israel reported its first confirmed case of monkeypox on Saturday, a man in his 30s who had returned from a trip to Western Europe, according to the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center – Ichilov, where he is quarantined and in a state benign.
Monkeypox is a rare disease with most cases found in Africa.
Doctors have urged people to be on the lookout for signs, which can include fever, headacheswelling, body aches, chills and exhaustion.
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