The monkeypox cases in Belgium are apparently linked to a large fetish festival in Antwerp. The organizers confirmed this on Friday. A sauna club has also been closed in Spain.
The monkeypox cases in Belgium are apparently linked to a large fetish festival in Antwerp. Organizers of the Darklands Festival, held in early May, said on Friday that Belgian authorities had linked the contagion to the festival. Belgium has so far officially confirmed three cases of monkeypox. In Spain, a gay sauna was forced to close temporarily over a suspected link to a monkeypox outbreak.
The Belgian festival organizers said on their website that there was “a reasonable assumption” that the virus was probably transmitted by visitors from abroad. The festival management was asked by the Belgian government to inform the festival guests.
According to the organizers, the Darklands Festival is aimed at the “various groups of the gay fetish community”. According to the organizers, clubs and organizations are behind the festival and more than 150 volunteers work there. Commercial events take place during the day and parties in the evening.
In Spain’s capital Madrid, health authorities ordered the temporary closure of a gay sauna over a suspected link to a monkeypox outbreak. The “El Paraíso” sauna club will remain closed for the next few days as a “precautionary measure”, the operators announced on Twitter on Friday.
The authorities have registered 21 confirmed cases and 19 suspected cases, said Enrique Ruiz Escudero, a representative of the health authorities of the Madrid region. Most of those who tested positive would have a connection to the sauna.
Monkeypox, which is particularly widespread in Central and West Africa, has been detected in several European and North American countries since the beginning of May. After the first cases in Great Britain, there were also reports from the USA and several European countries. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), it has been mainly gay or bisexual men who have been infected.
On Friday, an infection with monkeypox was also detected in Germany for the first time. According to the Bavarian Ministry of Health, it was a 26-year-old Brazilian who entered Germany from Portugal via Spain and has been in Munich for about a week. According to Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach (SPD), he assumes that the outbreak can be contained.