Holiday warning after monkeypox fears hit favourite UK summer break destination as Brit tourist tested
A BRITISH tourist staying at a favourite holiday hotspot in Spain is being tested for monkeypox.
Health chiefs in the region confirmed the holidaymaker on the Canary Island of Fuerteventura was one of five suspected new cases currently being analysed.
The age of the unnamed man, thought to be the first British tourist in Spain affected since the country announced its first cases last week, has not been revealed.
A spokesman for the Canary Islands’ Health Service confirmed in a short statement: “A suspected case of monkeypox in Fuerteventura corresponds to a British tourist.”
It is not yet known when they will confirm whether he has the disease.
Authorities have not said if he is holidaying alone on the island or relaxing with relatives who are also being tested.
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Spain has so far confirmed around 40 cases of monkeypox and said another 67 people are being tested.
The outbreaks have been traced to a gay sauna in Madrid and a Gran Canaria pride festival attended by 80,000 people from Britain and other European countries.
News of the suspected Fuerteventura case follows warnings by chief medical advisor Dr Susan Hopkins for people to be “alert to the virus” on holiday.
Dr Hopkins, of the UK Health and Security Agency (UKHSA), told the BBC: “The risk to the general population remains extremely low.
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“People need to be alert to it, and we really want clinicians to be alert to it.”
Spain has been one of the worst affected countries so far.
On Monday Britain’s monkeypox outbreak nearly tripled in size as health officials confirmed another 37 patients have caught the tropical virus.
UKHSA bosses have now logged 57 cases in little over a fortnight.
Authorities described the outbreak – which has disproportionately struck gay and bisexual men – as "significant and concerning" but insisted the risk to the UK population remains low.
It comes as experts have warned monkeypox could become permanent in Europe if pets start catching it too.
There have still not been any reports of monkeypox in pets, but in a rapid risk assessment on Monday, the European Centre for Disease Control (ECDC) said it was important to “manage exposed pets and prevent the disease from being transmitted to wildlife”.
Issuing the update, the ECDC said: “If human-to-animal transmission occurs, and the virus spreads in an animal population, there is a risk that the disease could become endemic in Europe.
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“Rodents, and particularly species of the family of Sciuridae (squirrels) are likely to be suitable hosts, more so than humans, and transmission from humans to (pet) animals is theoretically possible.
“Such a spill-over event could potentially lead to the virus establishing in European wildlife and the disease becoming an endemic zoonosis. The probability of this spill-over event is very low.”
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