Spain to buy monkeypox vaccine as cases reach 55

Josefa Espinosa shows a scar on her arm from the vaccination against smallpox, in Ronda
Josefa Espinosa, 65, shows a scar on her arm from the vaccination against smallpox received during her childhood, in Ronda, Spain, May 25, 2022. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

MADRID, May 25 (Reuters) - Spain will buy monkeypox vaccine, the health minister said on Wednesday, as the number of cases in the country reached 55.

Health Minister Carolina Darias said the government would purchase Imvanex vaccine, which is made by the Danish company Bavarian Nordic (BAVA.CO), but she did not specify the number of doses.

"We are going to distribute the vaccine proportionally among the (17 Spanish regions)," Darias told a news conference in Madrid.

Of Spain's total of cases, 51 have been reported in the region of Madrid, most of them traced to an adult sauna that was shuttered last week, with the other four cases in the Canary Islands.

A few cases in both regions were linked to a 10-day Gay Pride festival in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands, where 80,000 people gathered at the beginning of May, regional authorities in Madrid and Gran Canaria said.

In neighbouring Portugal, the DGS health authority confirmed 10 new cases of monkeypox in the country on Wednesday, bringing its total to 49.

The two Iberian countries have been among the main hotspots of the recent outbreak of the usually mild viral disease outside its endemic areas in parts of west and central Africa. read more

DGS said all confirmed cases had been found in men, most under age 40. No one has been hospitalised.

Madrid has also identified several private residences where transmission of the monkeypox virus occurred, and some of them had been visited by people from Britain, said a spokesperson for the regional administration. British authorities were the first to report monkeypox cases in the recent outbreak on May 7.

Most of the infections detected globally so far in the outbreak have not been severe. Many, but not all, have been reported in men who have sex with men. Symptoms include fever and a distinctive bumpy rash.

Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Leslie Adler

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