The Ministry of Health confirmed another death from monkeypox in Spain in its epidemiological bulletin this Saturday. It’s the second after the first was announced on Friday. The Ministry of Health of Andalusia has reported that it is a 31-year-old man who has been admitted to the intensive care unit of the Reina Sofía University Hospital in Córdoba with meningoencephalitis caused by the infection. The first victim in the Valencian community was also a young man (his age was not given) who also suffered from encephalitis.
The Carlos III Health Institute is examining biological samples from the cadavers to try to better understand the cause of death, whether it was due to causality or if the virus is manifesting in a previously unknown way.
This is the third known death outside of Africa from this outbreak, which was recorded in the UK in May. In addition to the first in Spain, the other also occurred on Friday in Brazil. The deceased is a 41-year-old man who has been diagnosed with cancer. These three deaths must be added to another five that the World Health Organization (WHO) registered in Africa on Wednesday.
21,699 cases have been reported worldwide so far, including 4,298 in Spain, the country with the most diagnoses after the United States (4,907), according to the Center for the Coordination of Health Alerts and Emergencies (CCAES). This continued expansion and the inaction of some countries prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare an international health emergency due to the contagion.
In general, the virus responsible for this outbreak does not cause any serious illness. In Spain, 120 people (3% of those diagnosed) were hospitalized, mainly to relieve the pain caused by the pustules. As José Antonio López Guerrero, Professor of Microbiology at the Department of Molecular Biology at the Autonomous University of Madrid, recalls, the fatalities are usually people with other pathologies and children.
Regarding the encephalitis that caused the deaths of the victims, López Guerrero points out that it is not inherent in the monkeypox virus. “There are viruses like influenza or measles that can cause encephalitis and meningitis, although they are not intrinsic or common. But there are people who are more sensitive or have comorbidities [cuando dos o más enfermedades ocurren en la misma persona]. With a benign infection for 99% of people, there are others who are more susceptible, such as those with comorbidities or children, especially when there are health problems, as in Africa. But don’t think that the virus has changed variant or that it’s more neurotropic [que afecta al tejido nervioso]is within the realm of possibility that this [la encefalitis] happen,” he explains.
The cases reported in Spain come from the 17 autonomous communities: Madrid, 1,656; Catalonia, 1,406; Andalusia, 498; Valencian Community, 213; Canary Islands, 102; the Basque Country, 98; Balearic Islands, 89; Aragón, 45 and Galicia, 37. They are followed by Asturias, 36; Castile and Leon, 31; Castile-La Mancha, 23; Extremadura, 20; Murcia, 19; Cantabria, 15; Navarra, 8 and La Rioja, 2.