World Health Organization
WH Expand Monkeypox Combat Strategies, Virus Affects LGBTQ Community Most Photo by Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil and Spain confirmed their first deaths caused by the current monkeypox global outbreak.

Brazil announced the death of a 41-year-old man, which became the first monkeypox-related death outside Africa. Meanwhile, Spain confirmed two deaths afterwards, the first in Europe.

On Friday, Brazil's health ministry said that the victim there had had lymphoma and a weakened immune system, and "comorbidities aggravated his condition." He reportedly died from septic shock after being moved to the intensive care unit.

Brazil has reported 1,066 confirmed cases and 513 suspected cases of the virus. According to the data from Brazil's health ministry, more than 98% of confirmed cases were in men who have sex with men.

Spain's health ministry also confirmed Europe's first death from the virus on Friday – a patient who suffered from encephalitis. Then, a second death due to monkeypox was announced by Spanish authorities on Saturday. Both victims had been hospitalized with infections that targeted the brain just days before their deaths. It is also possible that their deaths are connected to their pre-existing conditions.

The World Health Organization (WHO) officially declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. Infections are usually mild and the risk to the general population is low. WHO director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that declaring the outbreak a global health emergency would help fasten the development of vaccines and implement measures to limit the spread of the virus. He confirmed that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally, however, it has a high rate in Europe. Dr. Tedros added, "this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups."

There are already 21,148 cases worldwide, as stated by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The highest number of infections is being recorded in Europe and America. The outbreak began in May, with 20 cases recorded in the United Kingdom.

The monkeypox virus is a member of the same family of viruses as smallpox; however, it is not as transmissible or fatal as smallpox. Experts said it is much less severe and chances of infection are low. It occurs mainly in remote parts of central and west African countries, near tropical rainforests. Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.

Health officials are encouraging people at the highest risk of exposure to the virus, including some gay and bisexual men, also healthcare workers to be vaccinated. Vaccines are available to help people be protected against the virus, but the supply is limited.

A photograph shows doses of Imvanex vaccine used to protect against Monkeypox virus
A photograph shows doses of Imvanex vaccine used to protect against Monkeypox virus at the Edison municipal vaccination center in Paris on July 27, 2022. - French government announced on July 25, 2022 to mobilize "additional arms" to vaccinate against monkeypox, at a time when elected officials and associations denounce the lack of means to curb the outbreak of the disease. Photo by Alain Jocard/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

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