(AFP) The Spanish Ministry of Health reported the death of a person with monkeypox, the first death of a patient with the disease in the country and which, together with the one registered in Brazil, are the first two deaths outside of Africa that are known in this outbreak.
In Spain, one of the countries with the most cases in the world, 4,298 people have been infected with the virus and one of them died, revealed this Friday the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies of the Ministry of Health in its report, without giving more information on the causes of death or when it occurred.
Asked about the influence of the virus on the death, a spokeswoman for the ministry told AFP that only the autopsy will be able to determine it.
“Of the 3,750 patients with available information, one hundred and twenty cases were hospitalized (3.2%) and one of the cases has died,” the agency’s report briefly detailed, supported by data from the National Epidemiological Surveillance Network.
Shortly before, Brazil had reported that a 41-year-old man infected with monkeypox died, in what is believed to be the first death linked to the disease during this outbreak outside of Africa, where five deaths had already been reported.
The man, “who suffered from monkeypox and was under hospital monitoring for other serious clinical conditions, passed away on Thursday”said the Secretary of Health of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais (southeast) in a statement.
The patient died at the Eduardo de Menezes Hospital in Belo Horizonte, the capital of Minas Gerais.
“It is important to underline that he had serious comorbidities, so as not to cause panic in the population. Mortality (from this disease) is still very low,” said the Secretary of Health of Minas Gerais, Fábio Baccheretti, who explained that the patient was undergoing cancer treatment for lymphoma.
Local media indicated that he also had serious immune problems,
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 in the southeast of the country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) activated its highest level of alert last Saturday to try to contain the outbreak of monkeypox, which has affected more than 18,000 people in 78 countries since the beginning of May, the director specified on Wednesday. general of the entity, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Until then, only five people had died from this disease, all of them in Africa, and 10% of the cases have required hospital admission to manage the pain caused by the infection in the patients.
Since the beginning of May, an unusual increase in cases has been detected outside the countries of Central and West Africa where the virus is endemic, spreading throughout the world, with a high number of infections in Europe.
Monkeypox – which was first detected in humans in 1970 – is less dangerous and contagious than its cousin smallpox, eradicated in 1980.
In most cases, the patients are relatively young men who have homosexual relationships and usually live in cities, the WHO said.
According to a New England Journal of Medicine study of 528 people in 16 countries – the largest to date – 95% of cases were sexually transmitted.
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended extending the use of a smallpox vaccine to combat the spread of monkeypox, which is already used in several countries.