Monkeypox: Five cases found in Portugal as virus spreads in Europe

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BONDUA, LIBERIA - UNDATED: In this 1971 Center For Disease Control handout photo, monkeypox-like lesions are shown on the arm and leg of a female child in Bondua, Liberia. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said June 7 the viral disease monkeypox, thought to be spread by prairie dogs, has been detected in the Americas for the first time with about 20 cases reported in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.  (Photo Courtesy of the CDC/Getty Images)
Monkeypox has spread to mainland Europe. (Photo Courtesy of the CDC/Getty Images)

Portugal has confirmed five cases of monkeypox, as the virus spreads across Europe.

The UK have so far had seven positive cases of the viral disease, and Spanish health authorities are currently testing eight people who have shown symptoms of the disease.

European Health authorities began monitoring any outbreak of the disease since the UK reported its first case of monkeypox on 7 May.

UK health chiefs have said the pattern of transmission is "highly suggestive of spread in sexual networks".

Monkeypox is a rare viral infection similar to human smallpox, though milder, first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.

Until recently it had only been confirmed in four countries outside of Africa - the UK, US, Israel and Singapore.

All five of the Portuguese patients are men living in the Lisbon and the Tagus Valley, Portuguese health authorities said. All are stable.

None of the eight suspected cases in Spain has been confirmed yet, the Spanish Health Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Read more: What is monkeypox?

Monkeypox infected finger, photo
Six cases of Monkeypox have been identified in Britain. (File picture) (Getty)
(UK Health Security Agency)
(UK Health Security Agency)

What are the symptoms of monkeypox?

Early symptoms of monkeypox include;

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Chills

Later symptoms can include a rash which looks like chickenpox or syphilis which can develop from the face and spread from there.

Most patients recover within a few weeks.

Monkeypox is not particularly infectious between people and most people infected recover within a few weeks, though severe cases have been reported.

In the UK, four more cases were identified on Monday bringing the total number of confirmed cases of the disease to seven, health bosses have said.

Three of the cases have been detected in London, and one in the North East of England.

Watch: How easily can monkey pox spread

The UK health agency is working to find links between the latest four cases, which all appear to have been infected in the capital.

Common contacts have been established between two of the four individuals who have caught the virus.

These cases do not, however, seem to be connected to the previous confirmed cases in the UK which were announced on May 14, nor the first UK case announced on May 7, which has led to concerns that there has been transmission of the virus in the community.

Four of the cases detected in Britain self-identified as gay, bi-sexual or other men who have sex with men, the UK Health Security Agency said, adding evidence suggested there may be a transmission in the community.

The agency in Britain urged men who are gay and bisexual to be aware of any unusual rashes or lesions and to contact a sexual health service without delay.

The Spanish Health Ministry and Portugal's DGS health authority Spanish did not release any information on the sexual orientation of the monkeypox patients or suspected patients.

The two countries sent out alerts to health professionals in order to identify more possible cases.