The current monkeypox outbreak has claimed its first death in India, its first death in Asia and its fourth death outside of Africa.
An unnamed 22-year-old man from Kerala state died from the viral disease on Saturday, as confirmed by health authorities on Monday.
According to local officials, the 21 people who had prior contact with the man have been isolated.
Kerala’s Revenue and Housing Minister K. Rajan stated that there is no need for the public to panic, as all of the man’s primary contacts have reportedly not shown any symptoms.
“The person reached Kerala on July 21 but visited a hospital only on July 26 when he displayed fatigue and fever,” Rajan was quoted as saying.
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Meanwhile, Kerala’s Health Minister Veena George revealed that the young man’s family said he had tested positive in the United Arab Emirates before he returned to India.
The man’s death, which is the first recorded monkeypox-related death to occur in Asia, comes over a week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a global health emergency on July 23.
Spain reported two deaths related to the disease last week, while Brazil reported its first.
India’s federal health ministry announced that a task force has been formed to monitor monkeypox cases nationwide.
Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Mansukh Mandaviya confirmed that the country has a total of eight infected individuals, five of whom have recently traveled abroad. In the U.S., the current total number of recorded monkeypox cases reached 5,811, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). According to WHO, monkeypox is “less contagious than smallpox and causes less severe illness” and is transmitted from animals to humans. Human-to-human transmission can occur via “close contact with lesions, body fluids, respiratory droplets and contaminated materials such as bedding.”