The first deaths, outside Africa, of people infected with monkeypox were announced on Friday, a few hours apart, by Spain and Brazil, without it being known whether the virus is at the origin. of these two deaths.
They bring the number of deaths recorded globally since May to seven, with the first five reported in Africa, where the disease is endemic and was first detected in humans in 1970.
A Brazilian with cancer
In Brazil, a 41-year-old man, carrier of smallpox, died Thursday in Belo Horizonte (southeast), announced Friday the State Secretariat for Health of the State of Minas Gerais. It was “hospital follow-up for other serious clinical conditions”according to the press release.
“It is important to point out that he had serious comorbidities, so as not to cause panic in the population. Mortality [liée à cette maladie] remains very low”said the Secretary of Health of Minas Gerais, Fábio Baccheretti, who explained that the patient was undergoing treatment for cancer.
In Spain, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday July 29 the first death of a patient infected with this disease, a first in Europe, without specifying either the cause or the date of death. With 4,298 cases recorded, Spain is one of the most affected countries in the world.
On July 24, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued the highest level of alert, the Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI), to strengthen the fight against monkey pox, also called orthopoxvirus. simian.
According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected worldwide since the beginning of May outside endemic areas in Africa.
The disease has been reported in 78 countries and 70% of cases are concentrated in Europe and 25% in the Americas, the organization’s director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Wednesday. About 10% of cases require hospital admission to try to alleviate the pain patients are experiencing.
In most cases, the patients are men who have sex with men, relatively young, and living mainly in towns. The first symptoms are high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash similar to chickenpox.
Monkeypox is not, in the current state of knowledge, considered a sexually transmitted disease and anyone can contract it. Direct skin-to-skin contact but also infected sheets or clothing are vectors of transmission of the disease.
The WHO also strongly emphasizes the need to avoid any stigmatization of a specific community, which could lead its members to hide the disease, not seek treatment and continue to spread it.