On Saturday, authorities said at least two people had tested positive for monkeypox in Berlin, warning that more cases could emerge over the next few days.
The rare infectious disease, which causes characteristic pustules but is rarely fatal, is endemic to parts of central and western Africa.
In recent weeks, more than 100 confirmed or suspected cases have been recorded in Europe, as well as the United States, Canada and Australia.
What do we know about the Berlin issues?
Berlin health officials said the two patients were in stable condition. Efforts began to trace their contacts.
Public broadcaster RBB said at least one patient was believed to have contracted the infection at a club in Berlin.
It is unclear which of the two groups (or “clumps”) of the virus the two patients had.
So far, all cases recorded in Europe belong to the milder West African group, and not the most severe case in Central Africa.
Other confirmed and suspected cases in Germany
Germany on Friday reported its first case of monkeypox in a patient in the southern city of Munich who had traveled from Portugal via Spain.
The Bavarian Ministry of Health said the patient, a 26-year-old Brazilian national, contracted the milder variant in West Africa.
Authorities in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia told dpa on Saturday that many other people may have had contact with the virus, although cases have yet to be confirmed.
Also on Saturday, Switzerland recorded its first case. The Berne Health Department said the patient was likely to have been in contact with the virus abroad.
Cases confirmed in New York, Tel Aviv
A spokesman for Ichilov Hospital in Tel Aviv told AFP that a 30-year-old man who had recently returned to Israel from Western Europe had developed symptoms, and had tested positive.
Late Friday, New York City confirmed its first case after recording two possible infections.
Cases have been recorded in Britain, France, Spain and Sweden, among other countries.
World Health Organization: cases resulting from sexual contact
Most of the initial cases of the virus were among men who had sex with men and were seeking treatment at sexual health clinics, the World Health Organization’s regional director for Europe, Hans Kluge, said on Friday.
He warned that the cases may accelerate in the coming months.
Authorities in Spain are investigating whether the Maspalomas Gay Pride festival on the tourist island of Gran Canaria may be the source of many infections. El Pais Saturday newspaper reported.
The newspaper, quoting sources in the health sector, stated that men from Madrid, Italy and the neighboring island of Tenerife tested positive for the virus, who were said to have participated in the celebrations.
Tens of thousands of people attended the Pride Festival from May 5-15.
On Friday, authorities closed a sauna in Madrid that had been identified as a potential location for infection.
On Saturday, media reported that Spain has so far confirmed 30 cases, with more than 39 suspected cases.
More than 20 cases have been confirmed in neighboring Portugal, according to Publico Newspaper.
What is monkeypox?
The monkeypox virus originates in primates and other wild animals and causes fever, body aches, chills, and fatigue in most human patients.
The virus only occasionally causes severe symptoms, which include a chickenpox-like rash and lesions on the face, hands, and other parts of the body.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets from an infected person, as well as through shared items such as bedding or towels.
Monkeypox is usually cleared after two to four weeks, according to the World Health Organization. However, it can be fatal, especially in people with immune disorders.
mm/msh (AFP, dpa, Reuters)