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Spain to stock up on vaccines as monkeypox cases rise to 84

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AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Spain to stock up on vaccines as monkeypox cases rise to 84
Monkeypox vaccines for the general population have been ruled out by Spanish authorities, with the focus primarily on infected people and close contacts. (Photo by LLUIS GENE / AFP)

Spain's Health Ministry on Thursday confirmed 25 new cases of monkeypox in the country over the previous 24 hours, adding it would obtain vaccines and antiviral drugs to stem its spread through a joint EU procurement deal.

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A total of 84 people have tested positive for the illness via PCR test in Spain over the course of May, of whom at least 20 were confirmed to have it through genome sequencing, Health Minister Carolina Darias said.

That's 25 more than the 59 total cases announced on Wednesday May 25th, and 33 more than on Tuesday.

There are also 73 suspected cases of monkeypox reported across Spain, while on Wednesday there were 171.

In neighbouring Portugal, the tally has now reached 58 confirmed infections.

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Spain 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”.

Spanish authorities have so far said the newly acquired vaccines are meant for people infected with monkeypox and their close contacts, not the general population.

There is no specific treatment but vaccination against smallpox has been found to be about 85 percent effective in preventing monkeypox.

The World Health Organisation 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.

READ MORE: How Spain wants to contain the monkeypox virus

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