Monkeypox outbreak predominantly affecting men who have sex with men, Madrid, Spain, 26 April to 16 June 2022

Euro Surveill. 2022 Jul;27(27):2200471. doi: 10.2807/1560-7917.ES.2022.27.27.2200471.


Up to 22 June 2022, 508 confirmed cases of monkeypox (MPX) have been reported in the Madrid region of Spain, 99% are men (n = 503) with a median age of 35 years (range: 18-67). In this ongoing outbreak, 427 cases (84.1%) reported condomless sex or sex with multiple partners within the 21 days before onset of symptoms, who were predominantly men who have sex with men (MSM) (n = 397; 93%). Both the location of the rash, mainly in the anogenital and perineal area, as well as the presence of inguinal lymphadenopathy suggest that close physical contact during sexual activity played a key role in transmission. Several cases reported being at a sauna in the city of Madrid (n = 34) or a mass event held on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria (n = 27), activities which may represent a conducive environment for MPX virus spread, with many private parties also playing an important role. Because of the rapid implementation of MPX surveillance in Madrid, one of the largest outbreaks reported outside Africa was identified. To minimise transmission, we continue to actively work with LGBTIQ+ groups and associations, with the aim of raising awareness among people at risk and encouraging them to adopt preventive measures.

Keywords: Outbreak; men who have sex with men; monkeypox; public health; surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Disease Outbreaks
  • Female
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monkeypox* / diagnosis
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Young Adult