Belgium detects first two monkeypox cases, Spain, Portugal cases tallies each surpass 20

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BRUSSELS, May 19 (Reuters) – Belgian health experts were due to meet on Friday after the country detected its first two cases of monkeypox, authorities said.

The cases were diagnosed in different cities, though Flemish broadcaster VRTNWS said both patients had attended the same party in an undisclosed location. Reuters could not immediately confirm this.

A leading virologist said the number of cases in the country would probably rise.

“I do expect more cases,” said Steven Van Gucht from national public health institute Sciensano. As things stood, he was however confident that Belgium would be able to control the spread of the virus, he told Reuters.

The first infected person, diagnosed in Antwerp but whose place of residence was not reported, was not seriously ill and they and their partner were both in isolation, a spokesperson for Belgium’s Agency for Care and Health said.

The second case was a man from the region of Flemish Brabant, a Leuven-based virologist, Marc Van Ranst, said on Twitter. That patient was also not seriously ill, according to Belgian media.

Health authorities in Portugal and Spain on Friday reported respectively nine and 14 new confirmed cases of monkeypox on Friday, bringing the total number of cases in each country above 20, the outbreak’s highest tallies so far.

Twenty-three confirmed cases have now been identified in Portugal, while 21 cases have been reported in Spain.

Another 21 suspected cases are under investigation in Spain, 19 in the Madrid region, one in the Canary Islands and one in Andalusia, the health authority said.

SEE ALSO: Italian Monkeypox Cases Rise To Three, Increase To 20 In UK

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