Economics: CLOSE: First deaths in Europe of monkey pox

MADRID Two patients died in hospitals in the Valencia and Andalusia regions. According to official information, both were admitted with encephalitis. Valencia’s Health Ministry announced Friday night that the patient’s death “was due to infection-related encephalitis (encephalitis)”. The regional newspaper Levante wrote that it was “a man about 40 years of age” who was in the intensive care unit in Alicante.

In Andalusia, the Ministry of Health announced on Saturday that a 31-year-old was the second fatal. He was taken to the intensive care unit of the University Hospital of Cordoba with meningitis – besides the brain, the meninges are also affected.

Several Spanish experts stressed that both deaths were likely caused by previous illnesses. “99 percent of the time it is a mild infection, but there are patients who are more susceptible, such as those with comorbidities or children,” microbiologist José Antonio López Guerrero of Madrid’s Universidad Autónoma told El País. As for encephalitis, he said they are not uncommon in a variety of viral infections.

It was initially unclear whether the two deaths had comorbidities. El País wrote that the medical institute “Instituto de Salud Carlos III” in Madrid wanted to study tissue samples to better understand the causes of death.

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Spain is one of the countries most affected by monkey pox. The Ministry of Health said there were around 120 hospital admissions with approximately 4,300 registered cases. Experts called for more and better measures to contain the spread of the disease.

The “virus spreading to brothels or families with children” must be prevented, immunologist Alfredo Corell of the University of Valladolid told El Mundo. You also need to think about isolating infected people. The head of the infectious diseases department at the University Hospital of Badalona, ​​Roger Paredes, demanded that not only Spain, but all of Europe, “accelerate and strengthen” action against monkey pox – for example, by taking more vaccinations.

Brazil also confirmed a monkey pox-related death over the weekend. The 41-year-old man had various previous illnesses, was immunocompromised and underwent chemotherapy, the Brasilia Ministry of Health said. It is currently being investigated to what extent monkey pox contributed to the death of a man.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has previously recorded five deaths in the current monkey pox epidemic – all in Africa. Due to the rapid spread of monkey pox, the WHO announced the highest alert level last weekend. The spread of the infectious disease around the world is remarkable, so far it has been limited to six African countries.

The US state of New York has declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak. “This action allows us to respond faster to the outbreak and take additional steps to vaccinate more New Yorkers,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. You have to “use every tool” to contain the virus and to best protect at-risk groups. To this end, contact tracing will be stepped up and more health workers will be mobilized to administer vaccinations. In addition, the testing possibilities would be expanded.

A state of emergency is in effect in New York until August 28. On Friday, the state Department of Health reported 1,383 monkeypox infections, mostly concentrated in the New York City metropolitan area. This is equivalent to about a quarter of the cases recorded in the US. New York City Mayor Eric Adams also announced a public health emergency in the city: “New York is now the epicenter of the epidemic and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may have been at risk of monkey pox.”

According to the latest data, almost 23,000 cases of monkey pox have been reported worldwide. Europe is particularly affected by over 14,000 cases. By Friday, almost 2,600 of them were in Germany. Infection with monkey pox can cause rash, swollen lymph nodes, fever, chills, and muscle pain. According to WHO, around eight percent of patients in Europe have been hospitalized, mainly due to severe pain or additional infections.

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