Italy recorded the first case of smallpox on Thursday. The patient is a man who arrived from the Canary Islands and has been in solitary confinement since his return, currently at the Spalazanni Hospital in Rome. New cases of the disease have also been detected in Spain, Portugal and Sweden. Britain and the United States have also reported infection in recent days. Photo: SITA / AP Smallpox In a 2003 electron microscope image made available by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, mature smallpox virus particles of an oval shape (left) and spherical immature virus particles obtained from a human skin sample (right) In Portugal confirmed nine new cases of smallpox monkeys. According to the Portuguese Public Health Office, experts are trying to “identify transmission chains and potential new cases”. The office also called on everyone with suspicious symptoms, including skin rashes or sores, to avoid physical contact with others. In Spain, there have been seven confirmed and 22 possible cases of smallpox, and according to the head of the local public health office Antonio Zapatero, it is possible that their number will increase in the near future. Sweden also has the first case of smallpox, and the origin of the disease in this person is still unknown. Britain and the United States have also reported infection in recent days. Smallpox is a rare viral infectious disease similar to smallpox, although it has a milder course. They occur in Central and West Africa, often near tropical rainforests. They were first found in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where they are already considered endemic. The virus can be transmitted from person to person by droplets in the air, close body contact or the sharing of contaminated laundry or objects. Symptoms include fever, headache and skin rash.
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