The patient died in the Valencian Community due to encephalitis associated with the infection
The Ministry of Health reported this Friday the first death from monkeypox in Spain, the country with the most registered cases of this disease in Europe and the second in the world. It is also the first death on the European continent since an out-of-control outbreak broke out in mid-May and has already left more than 18,000 infected worldwide, according to data from the World Health Organization ( WHO), which last Saturday declared that monkeypox is an international public health emergency of “concerning nature”, the highest level of alarm that the entity can establish about a disease.
The Department of Health of the Valencian Community reported late in the afternoon that the death of this patient was due to encephalitis associated with monkeypox infection. The case is still being analyzed to determine definitive confirmation of the cause of death.
The latest report from the Ministry of Health on monkeypox, published this Friday, already records 4,298 cases of infected people in Spain, which represents an increase of 560 infections in the last three days (almost 200 per day), a considerable increase if one takes into account that, until this week, the ministry reported less than a hundred new infections per day.
All the autonomous communities have computed infections, with Madrid in the lead (1,462). Of course, in recent days there has been a significant upturn in Catalonia, which already reaches 1,226. Behind are Andalusia (498), Valencian Community (213), Canary Islands (102), Basque Country (98), Balearic Islands (89), Aragon (45), Galicia (37), Asturias (36), Castilla y León ( 31), Castilla-La Mancha (23), Extremadura (20), Murcia (19), Cantabria (15), Navarra (8) and La Rioja (2).
Of the patients whose cases are notified to the Spanish Surveillance System (SiViEs) –there is a delay in notification from some communities, especially Catalonia–, a total of 4,081 are men and 64 are women. The ages of those infected range between 10 months (a baby suffering from the disease in Madrid, although he is out of danger) and 88 years. The main symptoms of monkeypox reported in Spain are anogenital rash (irritated, reddened or blistered area) in 60.3% of cases; fever, in 56.6%; rashes in other locations (52.8%) and lymphadenopathies (enlarged nodes), in 52.2%.
The explosion of infections in recent days occurs three weeks after the Gay Pride events held throughout Spain during the first ten days of July. “It is very possible that infections produced in those days are now being reported,” explains an expert. The incubation period (interval between infection and onset of symptoms) for monkeypox is between 6 and 16 days, although it can vary between 5 and 21 days. Almost 20% of those infected have declared having participated in massive events.
In Spain, 83% of cases have occurred among men who have sex with other men. 82% of infections have occurred “through close contact in the context of a sexual relationship” and 10.5% through close non-sexual contact, according to Health. In fact, in recent days, the WHO has tightened its calls for attention to gays, asking them to reduce their number of sexual partners and to “exchange information with any new relationship” about their health status and possible symptom.
The United States, with 4,907 infections, has surpassed Spain as the country in the world with the most infections. Following are Germany (2,540), the United Kingdom (2,367), France (1,837), Brazil (978) and the Netherlands (878). Until now, the WHO had only reported five deaths from monkeypox in the world, all of them in Africa, although this Friday, in addition to Spain, Brazil also reported a death.
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