MADRID, Spain – Spain on Wednesday detected 59 cases of monkeypox, the government said, adding it would obtain vaccines and antiviral drugs to stem its spread through a joint EU procurement deal.
A total of 59 people tested positive for the illness via PCR test, of whom 20 were confirmed to have it through genome sequencing, Health Minister Carolina Darias said.
In total, 171 suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported nationwide.
Spain also intends to acquire Imvanex smallpox vaccines and Tecovirimat antivirals — usually used to treat the same disease — through an EU joint procurement scheme to try to stall the spread of monkeypox, Darias said.
The European Union’s Health Emergency Response Authority “is going to make the smallpox vaccine available to member states”, she said, adding the doses would be “distributed in an equitable manner between member states”.
There is no specific treatment but vaccination against smallpox has been found to be about 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.
The World Health Organization has said that, as of May 22, more than 250 confirmed and suspected cases had been officially reported to the UN health agency from 16 countries outside endemic nations in west and central Africa.
Monkeypox, which is not usually fatal, can cause a fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.