A sauna in Spain’s capital has been forced to close over a suspected link to a monkeypox outbreak in the country, health authorities said Friday.
Several European countries have reported cases in recent days, and the World Health Organisation is investigating whether some outbreaks spread within the gay community.
The Paraiso sauna, a gay-friendly establishment whose name means “paradise” in the heart of Madrid, said on Twitter it was shutting its doors.
“The Paraiso sauna will remain closed for the next few days, a precautionary measure in the face of the alert… over the emergence of so-called monkey pox infections in the Madrid region,” it said.
Enrique Ruiz Escudero, a health official for the Madrid region, told reporters the authorities had recorded 21 confirmed cases and 19 suspected cases.
“Most people who tested positive have a link to this source,” he said, referring to the sauna.
Official tallies often take time to be updated at national level in Spain.
The health ministry’s latest monkeypox count was of seven confirmed cases nationwide and 23 people who tested positive for a “non-human” virus but still awaited further results.
Other regions in the country, including Galicia, the Basque Country and Estremadura, have also reported suspected infections.
Monkeypox is not usually fatal but often manifests itself through fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, exhaustion and a chickenpox-like rash on the hands and face.
The virus can be transmitted through contact with skin lesions or droplets of bodily fluid from an infected person.