In recent days, five people with monkeypox have died outside the African continent, where the disease is endemic. In total, ten people have died after contracting the disease since May.
Since May, the first five monkeypox-related deaths worldwide have been reported in Africa, where the disease is endemic and was first detected in humans in 1970. However, most infections are concentrated in Europe. , where 70% of the 18,000 cases detected since then. At the beginning of May, 25% are already located in the Americas, according to the director of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Of those thousands of cases, five male deaths in recent days have been reported outside the African continent: two in Spain, one in India, one in Brazil and one in Peru. However, it is not yet clear that monkeypox is the cause of these deaths.
A man with “serious comorbidities” died in Brazil
A 41-year-old man with monkeypox died last Thursday in Brazil. It was the first disease-related death outside of Africa and the sixth overall, local authorities said on Friday. A man “suffering from monkeypox who was being followed in hospital for other serious clinical conditions died on Thursday,” reported the Ministry of Health of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (southeast).
The patient, who according to local media had serious immunity problems, died at the Eduardo de Menezes Hospital in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais.
“It is important to point out that he had serious comorbidities, so as not to cause panic in the population. Mortality (linked to this disease) is still very low,” said the Secretary of Health of Minas Gerais, Fábio Baccheretti, who explained that the patient was being undergoing treatment for cancer.
According to the Ministry of Health, Brazil has registered nearly 1,000 cases of monkeypox, most of them in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, also located in the southeast of the country. The first case was detected on June 10, in a man who had traveled to Europe.
“Two young people” die in Spain
The Spanish Ministry of Health announced this Friday the death of a person suffering from monkeypox, considered the first death recorded in Europe of a patient infected with this disease. However, he did not specify the cause, the date of death or any other information about the man. The next day, the ministry announced the death of a second person who also had monkeypox.
He explained that the two victims were “two young people” suffering from “monkey pox” and that studies were being carried out to obtain more “epidemiological information” on these two cases, in order to understand what had caused their death.
At the moment, we only know that the second death is a 31-year-old man who was admitted to the Reina Sofía hospital in Córdoba, in the south of the country, according to a press release from the Andalusian authorities. “The samples taken during the autopsy should make it possible to determine whether the cause of death was meningoencephalitis [causée par l’infection, ndlr] or other pathology”, they added.
In Spain, one of the countries with the most cases in the world, more than 4,200 people have been infected according to the latest data from the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies. “Among the 3,750 patients (…), 120 cases were hospitalized and two died,” he said in his report released on Saturday.
A patient died of sepsis in Peru
An HIV-positive patient who abandoned HIV treatment and became infected with monkeypox died on Monday in Peru, where more than 300 cases have been reported, a health official said.
The 45-year-old man “came to the hospital very seriously ill with monkeypox. His health had deteriorated after abandoning his HIV treatment,” the director of the Dos de Mayo National Hospital, Eduardo Farfán, told local radio.
“He did not die of monkeypox but of sepsis” caused by a weakened immune system, added the director of the hospital located in Lima. “The problem is that he was a patient with other morbidities”, which made him more vulnerable “and he decompensated”, said Eduardo Farfán. Entered on Wednesday “highly infected” by the virus, “the germs that invaded his skin compressed his lungs,” explained the hospital director.
One dead in India after “symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue”
Indian authorities on Monday announced the death of a man infected with monkeypox, which could be the first fatal case of the disease in Asia. The Health Ministry of the southern Indian state of Kerala said tests carried out on the 22-year-old victim, who died on July 30, “show that the man had monkeypox.” But it is still unclear whether the cause of death was really monkeypox.
The Indian victim died a week after being hospitalized on his return from the United Arab Emirates. The first tests carried out on Saturday in India showed that she carried the West African variant of the virus and no further tests have yet been carried out. 165 passengers were on board the same flight as him from the Emirates, but none of them had close contact with the patient, the ministry said.
“The young man had no symptoms of monkeypox. He was admitted to hospital with symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue,” Kerala Health Minister Veena George was quoted as saying by the Indian Express newspaper on Sunday.
Twenty people identified as high risk were placed under observation, he said, including family members, friends and medical personnel, who may have been in contact with the victim. India has recorded at least four cases of the disease, the first of which was on July 15 in another man who returned to Kerala after a trip to the United Arab Emirates.
More deaths to come?
The WHO Regional Office for Europe forecasts an increase in the number of deaths related to monkeypox, although it notes that serious complications remain rare and that the disease often resolves itself, without the need for treatment.
The goal must be to “rapidly interrupt the transmission of the virus in Europe and stop this epidemic,” said Catherine Smallwood, WHO Europe’s director of emergencies.
The first symptoms are a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a chickenpox-like rash. For now, the WHO emphasizes that there are no vaccines for everyone and therefore recommends prioritizing those who are most at risk, those who are sick and those who care or do research.
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