The first known deaths caused by the current Monkeypox outbreak in non-endemic countries have been confirmed. This comes as the virus continues to spread at a rapid rate globally, with gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men being disproportionately affected.
The first confirmed death outside of Africa since the ongoing outbreak began in May occurred in Brazil. The country’s health ministry announced the news on Friday, July 29, saying that a 41 year-old man had tragically passed away. The Ministry of Health added that the patient also suffered from lymphoma and a weakened immune system, with other additional diseases worsening his condition.
The man had been hospitalised in the city of Belo Horizonte, and passed away on Thursday, July 28, after being taken to an intensive care unit.
The second and third confirmed monkeypox deaths occurred in Spain, with the first patient being located in the Valencia region. He is believed to be the first person in Europe to have died as a result of the virus, suffering from a brain inflammation associated with monkeypox known as encephalitis. The first patient reportedly passed away on Friday, July 29, and the second died just one day later on Saturday, July 30.
A young man in Kerala, India became the fourth known fatally infected victim of the current outbreak, also unfortunately passing away on Saturday, July 30. According to the local health minister, Veena George, the man had originally tested positive in the United Arab Emirates on July 19, before returning to India on July 21. Healthcare officials were not told of his diagnosis until the day of his death, when his family finally informed them.
He was hospitalised on July 26 after developing a fever and swollen lymph nodes, with a rash emerging later. Within three days, his condition worsened severely, and he was on a ventilator moments before he passed away.
In relation to the current outbreak, there have been roughly 20,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox reported globally. The rising figures have caused governments worldwide to take action, with the US being one of the latest nations to do so.
Three states; California, New York and Illinois, have all declared a state of emergency, while the director of Ohio’s department of health called monkeypox “a disease of significant public concern”. The Biden administration has also established a monkeypox response team, with the White House naming Robert Fenton as its National Monkeypox Response Coordinator, and Dr Demetre Daskalakis as its deputy coordinator. Currently the director of the CDC Division of HIV Prevention, Daskalakis is widely known as an expert on health issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.
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