Spain on Saturday reported a second death in as many days from monkeypox. These are believed to be the first confirmed fatalities from the disease in Europe since its recent spread beyond Africa. Both fatalities were young men, the health ministry said, after reporting Spain's first death on Friday, the same day that Brazil reported its first death from monkeypox. The global outbreak has seen more than 22,000 cases in nearly 80 countries since May. There have been 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than the one in the West, the AP reports.
In the US and Europe, the vast majority of monkeypox infections have happened in men who have sex with men, though health officials have stressed that anyone can catch the virus. The World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency. "The notification of deaths due to monkeypox does not change our assessment of the outbreak in Europe. We know that although the disease is self-limiting in most cases, monkeypox can cause severe complications," said Catherine Smallwood, senior emergency officer at WHO Europe. She said the agency expects more deaths to be reported. "Our goal needs to be on interrupting transmission quickly in Europe and stopping this outbreak," Smallwood added.
On Friday, Spain’s health ministry reported 4,298 people were infected with the virus, making it the leading European country for monkeypox cases. Of that total, some 3,500 cases were of men who had had sex with other men. Only 64 were women. The ministry said 120 have needed hospital attention. About 8% of the monkeypox cases in Europe have required hospitalization, Smallwood said. Spanish health authorities are administering 5,300 vaccines received from the joint EU vaccine purchase plan. Health workers say that's far fewer than the number needed to cover the at-risk groups. Monkeypox spreads mainly through skin-to-skin contact, but it can also be transmitted through bed sheets used by someone with monkeypox.
(Read more monkeypox