Monkeypox: first deaths of infected patients outside of Africa

The Ministry of Health in the southern Indian state of Kerala said tests on a 22-year-old man died on July 30 after testing positive “show that the man had monkeypox”.

This death is the fourth related to this disease outside of Africa.

This brings the number of deaths recorded worldwide since May to 9, with the first 5 reported in Africa. The disease is endemic to the African continent, where it was first detected in humans in 1970.

Indian boy dies without symptoms of monkeypox

The Indian victim died a week after being hospitalized on his return from the United Arab Emirates. It was still unclear whether the cause of death was monkeypox.

“The young man had no symptoms of monkeypox. He was taken to the hospital with symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue.”Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Sunday, quoted by the Indian Express newspaper.

Twenty people who were identified as being at high risk were placed under surveillance, she said, including relatives, friends and medical workers likely to have been in contact with the victim.

India has recorded at least four cases of the disease, the first of which occurred on July 15 in another man returning to Kerala after a trip to the United Arab Emirates.

In Brazil, a victim with serious comorbidities

In Brazil, on Thursday July 28, a 41-year-old man, carrier of monkeypox, died in Belo Horizonte (south-east). This was announced by the State Secretariat for Health of the State of Minas Gerais the next day. The patient was “Hospital follow-up for other serious clinical conditions”it says in the press release.

“It is important to emphasize that he had serious comorbidities so as not to cause panic among the population. Mortality (related to this disease) remains very low.”said Minas Gerais Health Minister Fábio Baccheretti, who explained that the patient was undergoing cancer treatment.

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Two infected people die in Spain

In Spain, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday the first death of a patient infected with this disease, a first in Europe, without specifying the cause of death or the date of death.

A second person with monkeypox died in Spain, the Health Ministry said on Saturday July 30, a day after announcing the first death of a person infected with the virus in the country.

“Among the 3,750 patients (…) 120 cases were hospitalized and two died”the ministry’s Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies said in its latest report released on Saturday, without giving the date of this second death.

With 4,299 registered cases, Spain is one of the countries with the most cases in the world.

70% of cases in Europe

On July 24, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued the highest level of alert, the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI), to step up the fight against monkeypox, also known as orthopoxvirus.

According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases outside of endemic areas in Africa have been detected worldwide since the beginning of May.

The disease has been reported in 78 countries and 70% of the cases are concentrated in Europe and 25% in America, the organization’s director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

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About 10% of cases require hospitalization to try to relieve the pain the patients are experiencing.

In most cases, the patients are men who have sex with men, are relatively young and mostly live in cities.

The first symptoms are a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a chickenpox-like rash.

On Wednesday July 27, the WHO clearly advised the group most affected by the disease – men who have sex with men – to reduce the number of sexual partners.

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The best way to protect yourself “is to reduce the risk of being exposed” of the disease, said the director-general of the WHO during a press conference in Geneva.

Not considered a sexually transmitted disease

Monkeypox is not currently considered a sexually transmitted disease and anyone can contract it. Direct skin contact, but also infected sheets or clothing are carriers of the disease.

WHO also strongly emphasizes the need to avoid any stigmatization of a particular community, which could lead its members to hide the disease, not seek treatment and spread it further.

For the time being, 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 treat or manufacture them.

“It is important to emphasize that vaccination does not protect against infection or disease immediately and this can take several weeks.”, warned Dr. tedros Therefore, after vaccination, it is necessary to continue to take precautionary measures.

Vaccination is given in two doses at least 28 days apart. One dose is sufficient for people who were vaccinated against smallpox as children. A third dose is recommended for immunocompromised individuals.

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