Monkeypox patients reported attending two major public events in Spain before being struck down with symptoms of the painful disease.
A major mass gathering on the Costa del Sol has been linked to the rapid spread of monkeypox in Spain and other countries, according to new research.
A new study from GeoSentinel Network – the data branch for the International Society of Travel Medicine – involved 226 monkeypox cases from 15 countries, 35% of them from Spain.
Of 219 patients whose data was available, 216 reported sexual or close intimate contact in the 21 days before they started to notice symptoms.
The study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases and adds to previous medical research on the topic showed the monkeypox outbreak was primarily fuelled by sexual contact.
Of 161 patients whose data was available, 37 met their sexual partners at large public gatherings, including Torremolinos Pride, which took place between May 30 and June 4 this year.
Respondents also reported meeting sexual partners at the Maspalomas Festival on Gran Canaria Island between June 9-19, before symptom onset.
Symptoms include fever, headaches, swellings, back pain and aching muscles.
A rash then develops, often beginning on the face, then spreading to other parts of the body and can be extremely itchy and painful – the lesions can cause scarring.
Men who have sex with men (99% of the patients) reported an average of three recent sexual partners, the study found.
Data was collected from May 1 to July 1 this year across 71 clinical sites in 29 countries – the median age of patients was 37 years.
There have been 7,219 cases of monkeypox in Spain since January 1 this year – two people have died.