Spain and Brazil report first monkeypox deaths outside Africa

About 70% of cases in the outbreak that began in May have been found in Europe and 25% in the Americas.

Spain and Brazil have each reported one death from monkeypox in what are thought to be the first fatalities linked to an outbreak of the disease that began in early May.

Spain is one of the worst affected countries in the world, with 4,298 cases of the virus, according to the Ministry of Health’s emergency and alert coordination centre.

“Of the 3,750 (monkeypox) patients for whom information is available, 120 cases were hospitalized (3.2%) and one case died,” the center said in a report on Friday.

A spokesperson for the Ministry of Health declined to give further details about the deceased patient. An autopsy must take place.

In Brazil, the deceased patient was a 41-year-old man.

The Ministry of Health said he also suffered from lymphoma and a weakened immune system.

He had been admitted to hospital in the city of Belo Horizonte, in the southeast of the country, and died of septic shock after being taken to the intensive care unit.

“It is important to point out that he had serious comorbidities, so as not to sow panic in the population. The mortality rate is very low” for monkeypox, Minas Gerais health secretary Fabio Baccheretti said.

Global health emergency

The Brazilian Ministry of Health has recorded nearly 1,000 cases of monkeypox, mostly in the states of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, which are also in the southeast of the country. Along with the United States and Canada, it is one of the countries most affected by monkeypox in the Americas.

Early signs of illness include high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a chickenpox-like rash.

The first case of the current outbreak was confirmed in the UK on May 7 and the World Health Organization (WHO) said the emergence of hundreds of cases outside central and west African countries where the virus is endemic suggested that it had been spreading undetected for at times.

Some 18,000 cases have now been discovered in 78 countries around the world and a week ago the WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency.

About 70% of the latest cases are in Europe and 25% in the Americas, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.

As cases rise around the world, 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 on its own after two to three weeks, although healing can sometimes take a month.

A smallpox vaccine from Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, marketed as Jynneos in the United States and Imvanex in Europe, has also been shown to protect against monkeypox.

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