Argentina said Friday it has Latin America’s first known case of monkeypox. Local press reports said the patient was a 40-year-old man who recently returned from Spain, where two days ago the government reported 59 cases.
“The PCR test result… for the first suspected case of monkeypox is positive,” said the health ministry in a statement.
Health care workers were treating the patient’s symptoms, the statement said, while his close contacts, who are asymptomatic, are being monitored. The health ministry also revealed that a resident of Spain currently visiting Argentina, who has no link to the other patient, is a suspected second case.
“The person has ulcerous lesions without other associated symptoms,” said the ministry.
Monkeypox comes from an infectious virus and can be transmitted to humans by infected animals. Person to person transmission is also possible but rare. Monkeypox is related to smallpox but is much less severe. The initial symptoms include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a chickenpox-like rash.
There is no specific treatment but vaccination against smallpox has been found to be about 85 per cent effective in preventing monkeypox. Monkeypox was first detected in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1970 and is considered endemic in around a dozen African countries.
Its appearance in non-endemic countries has worried experts, although those cases reported so far have been mostly mild and there have been no deaths.