By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 30 July 2022 • 15:09
Second Monkeypox death in Spain as New York declares health emergency. Image: Spotmatik Ltd/Shutterstock.com
The Ministry of Health confirmed on Saturday, July 30 that a second person had died from the virus, this time a man in Alicante. He is said to have said he died from encephalitis associated with the disease, a serious condition which causes the brain to become swollen.
With infections rising to more than 4,000, Spain is second only to the US in the number of cases with Madrid and Catalonia having the most cases at 1,656 and 1,406 respectively.
According to newspaper El Mundo around 120 carriers have been hospitalised causing at least one expert to suggest that more deaths can be expected.
The death of the middle-aged man takes the known number of deaths worldwide to eight and the number of cases to more than 22,000.
The steady rises in cases caused the World Health Organisation to declare a global health emergency, as has New York which accounts for the majority of cases in the US. Declaring a health emergency means the threat is very real and requires a coordinated international response.
Although experts have said the strain currently in Spain is less dangerous than strains found elsewhere, the country tops the European table for Monkeypox related deaths.
Those that have been infected range from 10 months old to 88 with the average age of patients 37.
The death comes as the Director General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that he needed to declare a health emergency despite the lack of consensus amongst experts.
He said: “We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations.
“I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views among the members of the committee.”
Whilst Monkeypox has been present in parts of Central and West Africa, this is the first time the virus has spread beyond those borders. Initially thought to be relatively harmless, Monkeypox patients develop fevers, swollen lymph nodes, headaches and muscle aches. They also get a rash that starts of their limbs before spreading to elsewhere on the body, causing lesions.
The initial outbreak reportedly came through sexual contact among LGBTQ groups but it has now spread to other members of the community. Unlike Covid-19 it is not airborne requiring the exchange of bodily fluids, which makes it less virulent and easier to control.
With the second Monkeypox death recorded in Spain, officials will be concerned that the infection rates and the virulence of the virus are worse than originally thought.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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