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A gay pride festival in Gran Canaria, Spain is linked to the Spanish monkeypox outbreak, authorities confirmed.
The LGBTQ event is considered a “superspreader” as it was attended by 80,000 people. Following the event, more than 100 cases of monkeypox have now been reported across Europe.
A notable proportion of recent cases in Britain and Europe “have been found in gay and bisexual men,” according to the UK Health Security Agency.
There are 20 confirmed cases in the UK and more cases in nine other countries.
Hans Kluge, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, said that “the cases currently being detected are among those engaging in sexual activity.”
Professor Sir Peter Horby, director of the Pandemic Sciences Institute at Oxford University, said, “It’s transmitted by close, person-to-person contact and, in the past, we have not seen it being very infectious.”
“What’s unusual about what we’re seeing now is that we’re seeing transmission occurring in the community in Europe and now in other countries, so it’s an unusual situation where we seem to have had the virus introduced but now have ongoing transmission within certain communities,” he said.
“It would appear that there is some element of sexual transmission perhaps with just the very close contact between people and the skin lesions, because a large proportion of the current cases are being detected in gay and bisexual men.”
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More on this story via Western Journal:
“Among the 30 or so diagnosed in Madrid, there are several who attended the event, although it is not yet possible to know if one of them is patient zero of this outbreak or if they all got infected there,” the Spanish newspaper El Pais quoted a health source as saying, according to the Daily Mail.
Earlier, Belgium – which now has a quarantine in place for anyone infected by monkeypox, found four cases linked to a festival for gay men that took place in Antwerp from May 4 to May 9. The Darklands Festival features an array of clothing and accessories catering to sexual fetishes.
“There’s reason to assume that the virus has been brought in by visitors from abroad to the festival after recent cases in other countries,” organizers of The Darklands Festival posted on its website, according to Newsweek.
The disease is spreading across Europe in ways that puzzle experts, who say that its pattern is different from how the disease spreads in Central and West Africa, where it is more commonly found.