Portuguese authorities said on Wednesday they had identified five cases of the rare monkeypox infection, and Spain’s health services were testing 23 potential cases after Britain put Europe on alert for the virus.
The five Portuguese patients, out of 20 suspected cases in the country, are stable. They are men and all live in the Lisbon and Tagus Valley region, according to Portuguese health authorities.
European health officials have been monitoring any outbreak of the disease since the UK reported its first case of monkeypox on May 7 and has found six more in the country since.
Spain issued an alert early in the morning saying it had eight suspected cases in testing. The number rose to 23 cases by late afternoon, health officials in the Madrid region said in a statement. All cases remain unconfirmed.
Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, although milder, first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s. The number of cases in West Africa has increased in the last decade.
Symptoms include fever, headaches, and rashes that start on the face and spread to the rest of the body.
It is not particularly infectious among people, Spanish health officials said, and most infected people recover within a few weeks, although severe cases have been reported.