Five people died in a few days. After Spain, which confirmed the death of two monkeypox patients this weekend, India and Peru announced on Monday, August 1, the death of a person carrying the virus in their country. On Thursday, Brazil had launched the alert, announcing the first death of a person with the disease, outside the African continent.
These deaths occur in a context in which the virus, whose strain originates in West Africa, is spreading around the world. The World Health Organization (WHO) activated its highest level of alert, the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI), on July 24 to intensify the fight against monkeypox. Franceinfo returns in four questions about these recent deaths of patients with the virus.
1Where have recent deaths been posted?
The five deaths in recent days are the first deaths of monkeypox patients outside of Africa, reports AFP. A total of 10 deaths have been recorded worldwide since May, with the first five reported on the African continent, where the disease is endemic and was first detected in humans in 1970.
The first death outside of Africa was recorded in Brazil on July 28. He is a 41-year-old man who died in Belo Horizonte, in the southeast of the country. According to the country’s Ministry of Health, Brazil has so far registered close to 1,000 cases of monkeypox, most of them in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, located in the same region. The first case was detected on June 10, in a man who had traveled to Europe.
Spain recorded the second death of a monkeypox patient on Saturday. This 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 day before, the country announced the first death of a patient with this disease registered in Europe.
With nearly 4,300 people infected as of July 29, according to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Health (in Spanish), Spain is the European country with the highest number of registered cases of monkeypox. In the country, 120 people affected by the virus have been hospitalized.
A 22-year-old man also died on Saturday, July 30, in India, a week after being hospitalized on his return from the United Arab Emirates, according to Indian authorities. Tests performed on the 22-year-old victim showed that he had monkeypox. 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.
In Peru, an HIV-positive patient who had abandoned his HIV treatment and contracted monkeypox also died on Monday. The 45 year old man “He arrived at the hospital in a very serious condition with monkeypox. His health had deteriorated after he stopped his HIV treatment”The director of the Dos de Mayo National Hospital, Eduardo Farfán, told a local radio station. More than 300 cases of monkeypox have been recorded in the country.
twoHas the link between monkeypox and the death of patients been established?
For the two patients who died in Spain, this is still not the case. evoking “two young men”, the Spanish Ministry of Health has not provided further details on the profile of these patients. referred to “analysis that can be carried out later to determine the cause of death”.
For the 41-year-old patient who died in Brazil, monkeypox shouldn’t be the only factor to consider, officials say. The “he was being followed in the hospital for other serious clinical conditions”said the authorities of the state of Minas Gerais, located in the southeast of the country. “It is important to point out that he had serious comorbidities, so as not to cause panic in the population”also said the Secretary of Health of Minas Gerais, adding that the patient was undergoing treatment for cancer.
Further tests will also be carried out on the man who died in India. The death of the Peruvian patient would have been caused by a weakened immune system according to medical teams. “He didn’t die of monkeypox but of sepsis”said the director of the Dos de Mayo National Hospital in Lima.
3What are the mortality risks from monkeypox?
According to Imad Kansau, doctor specializing in infectious diseases at the Antoine-Béclère hospital in Clamart (Hauts-de-Seine) interviewed by franceinfo, these deaths among people carrying the virus are rare. “These are the complications that occur in immunocompromised patients, therefore patients who are in a stage of diseases that give immunosuppression, that is, a significant drop in defenses. These patients can die from neurological or respiratory complications.he explains.
In African countries where the disease is endemic, the mortality rate varies from 1 to 10%, according to the WHO. But, “with proper care, most patients recover”, specifies the organization. In your frequently asked questions, remember that “dIn most cases, monkeypox symptoms resolve on their own within a few weeks.”.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control specifies that the viral strain detected in Europe, from West Africa, has an average mortality rate of 3.6% (in English), based on studies in African countries. Severe cases usually occur in newborns, children and people with immunodeficiency. Among the possible complications, the WHO cites superinfections of the skin, pneumonia or even eye problems.
“We do not know to what extent this rate is transposable to us: we generally have relatively little information on the characteristics of infected patients in epidemics in Africa and our health systems are very different from those of the affected countries”the infectologist Paul Loubet commented for franceinfo.
4Why does WHO Europe predict an increase in the number of deaths related to the epidemic?
Despite this low case fatality rate, health authorities already expect more deaths, “given the continued spread (of the virus)”Catherine Smallwood, WHO Europe emergency manager, justified in a press release.
“The reporting of monkeypox-related deaths does not change our assessment of the epidemic in Europe. We know that, although in most cases it is self-limited, monkeypox can cause serious complications.”he aimed, remembering the target “to rapidly interrupt the transmission of the virus in Europe”.
More than 18,000 cases have been detected worldwide outside of Africa since the beginning of May, most of them in Europe. In detail, the disease has been reported in 78 countries and 70% of cases are concentrated in Europe, WHO director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
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