Spain reported its first Monkeypox – related death on Friday, in what is thought to be Europe’s first fatality from the disease and only the second outside Africa in the current outbreak.
Brazil reported earlier on Friday the first monkeypox-related death outside the African continent in the current wave of the disease.
According to a World Health Organization report from July 22, only five deaths had been reported worldwide, all in the African region.
The WHO last Saturday declared the rapidly spreading outbreak a global health emergency, its highest level of alert.
In its latest report, the Spanish Health Ministry said 4,298 cases had been confirmed in the country. Of the 3,750 patients it had information on, it said 120 had been hospitalised and one had died, without providing further details.
A spokesperson for the Health Ministry declined to give further details on the deceased person.
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In Brazil, the patient who died was a 41-year-old man.
The health ministry said he also suffered from lymphoma and a weakened immune system.
He had been admitted to hospital in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte and died from septic shock after being taken to the intensive care unit.
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“It is important to underline that he had serious co-morbidities, so as not to spread panic in the population. The death rate is very low” for monkeypox, said Minas Gerais health secretary Fabio Baccheretti.
Brazil’s health ministry has recorded close to 1,000 monkeypox cases, mostly in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states, which are also in the country’s southeast. Along with the United States and Canada it is one of the countries that has been most affected by monkeypox in the Americas.
Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.
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The first case in the current outbreak was confirmed in the United Kingdom on May 7 and the World Health Organization (WHO) said the emergence of hundreds of cases outside the central and western African nations where the virus is endemic suggested it had been spreading undetected for some time.
Some 18,000 cases have now been found in 78 countries across the world and a week ago, the WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency.
About 70 percent of cases found in Europe and 25 percent in the Americas, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.
As cases surge globally, the WHO on Wednesday called on the group currently most affected by the virus – men who have sex with men – to limit their sexual partners.
The disease usually heals by itself after two to three weeks, although recovery can sometimes take a month.
A smallpox vaccine from Danish drug maker Bavarian Nordic, marketed under the name Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been found to protect against monkeypox.