Monkeypox has killed its first victim in Europe as Spain confirms a fatality just a week after WHO confirmed it as a global health emergency
- Spain confirms first monkey pox fatality since outbreak began
- The news marks Europe’s first confirmed death from the viral disease
- Spain is the leading nation on the continent in terms of confirmed cases
Spain has confirmed its first death from monkeypox – and Europe’s first fatality from the virus.
The five previously reported deaths were all in African countries.
The Spanish Ministry of Health confirmed the fatal accident today, as it revealed 4,298 cases have been reported so far.
It gave no details about the person who had died and when it had happened. Only 64 of the confirmed cases in Spain were women.
Earlier this month, when the number of confirmed cases in Spain was just over 3,000, it was identified as the world leader in monkey pox.
The first cases in May were linked to a gay sauna in Madrid and a Pride festival in Gran Canaria.
Last week, the World Health Organization declared monkey pox a global health emergency, meaning it now views the current outbreak as a threat of sufficient magnitude that a coordinated international response is needed.
Monkeypox has affected more than 16,000 people in 75 countries, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) census
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the decision to issue the statement despite a lack of consensus among experts serving on the UN health organization’s emergency committee.
It was the first time the chief of the UN health organization took such action.
“We have an outbreak that has spread rapidly around the world due to new modes of transmission that we don’t understand enough about and that meet the criteria in international health regulations,” Tedros said.
“I know that this has not been an easy or straightforward process and there are differing views among committee members,” he added.
The WHO announcement came after the virus spread to more than 75 countries. Director-General Dr Tedros said at the time that the risk of people contracting the virus in Europe was ‘high’.
The WHO previously declared emergencies for public health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the West African Ebola outbreak in 2014, the Zika virus in Latin America in 2016 and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (above) made the decision to issue the statement despite a lack of consensus among experts serving on the UN Health Organization’s emergency committee
Although monkeypox has been identified in parts of central and western Africa for decades, it was not known to spread beyond the continent or become widespread among humans until May, when authorities reported dozens of individual outbreaks in Europe, North America and discovered elsewhere.
Traditionally, people with monkey pox have developed fever, swollen lymph nodes, headaches, and muscle aches.
The symptoms are followed by a rash that starts on their face or mouth and then spreads to other parts of their body — especially the hands and feet.
However, in some recent cases, patients first developed a rash in the mouth or around the genitals or anus.