Rare monkeypox disease popping up across Europe, one case in Boston

Parts of Europe are seeing outbreaks of monkeypox — a virus "typically limited to Africa," according to AP, that starts with fever, head and muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and can sometimes lead to death (up to 10% of cases), according to the CDC. Later symptoms include a rash that usually starts on the face and can spread throughout the body.

In Portugal, five people have been diagnosed with the virus and 15 others have suspected cases. In the UK, seven people have confirmed cases, and 23 people in Madrid are showing symptoms. Meanwhile, a man in Massachusetts who traveled from Canada to the United States has just come down with a case.

"Transmission of monkeypox virus occurs when a person comes into contact with the virus from an animal, human, or materials contaminated with the virus," according to the CDC. "The virus enters the body through broken skin (even if not visible), respiratory tract, or the mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). … Human-to-human transmission is thought to occur primarily through large respiratory droplets. … Other human-to-human methods of transmission include direct contact with body fluids or lesion material, and indirect contact with lesion material, such as through contaminated clothing or linens."

From AP:

Portuguese health authorities on Wednesday confirmed five cases of monkeypox in young men, and Britain announced another two, marking an unusual outbreak in Europe of a disease typically limited to Africa.

Portugal's General Directorate for Health said they were also investigating 15 suspected cases and that all were identified this month in the area around the capital, Lisbon.

All the Portuguese cases involve men, most of them young, authorities said. They have skin lesions and were reported to be in stable condition. Authorities did not say if the men had a history of travel to Africa or any links with recent cases in Britain or elsewhere.

British health authorities said Wednesday they had identified two new cases of monkeypox, one in London and another in southeast England. They said neither case had previously traveled to Africa and that it was possible they were infected in the U.K. The cases had no known links to other previously confirmed patients, suggesting there may be multiple chains of monkeypox transmission already happening in the country.

And from The Guardian:

Health authorities in Spain have issued an alert over a possible outbreak of monkeypox after 23 people showed symptoms compatible with the viral infection, which has already been detected in the UK and Portugal. …

"Generally speaking, monkeypox is spread by respiratory transmission, but the characteristics of the 23 suspected cases point towards transmission through mucus during sexual relations," it said in a statement.

Fernando Simón, an epidemiologist who heads Spain's health emergencies centre, said while it was unlikely that monkeypox would spread significantly, "that can't be ruled out".

Illness from monkeypox usually lasts 2–4 weeks, according to the CDC, with an incubation time of 7–14 days.