Argentina confirms first monkeypox case in Latin America

This undated electron microscopic (EM) handout image provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention depicts a monkeypox virion, obtained from a clinical sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. – It was a thin section image from a human skin sample. On the left were mature, oval-shaped virus particles, and on the right were the crescents, and spherical particles of immature virions. (Photo by Cynthia S. Goldsmith / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP) /


BUENOS AIRES, ARgentina (AFP) — Argentina said Friday it has Latin America’s first known case of monkeypox.

Local press reports say the patient is 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.

This handout photo provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was taken in 1997 during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and depicts the dorsal surfaces of a monkeypox case in a patient who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. (Photo by Brian W.J. Mahy / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention / AFP) / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE – MANDATORY CREDIT “AFP PHOTO / Brian W.J. Mahy, BSc, MA, PhD, ScD, DSc / Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ” – 

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 percent 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.

© Agence France-Presse