Indian authorities announced on Monday the death of a man infected with monkeypox who had recently returned from the United Arab Emirates in what could be the first death in Asia.
The Ministry of Health in the state of Kerala in southern India said tests on the 22-year-old victim, who died on July 30 after testing positive, “show that the man had monkeypox.”
This death is the fourth associated with the disease outside of Africa.
On July 24, WHO declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI) to step up control of monkeypox, also called monkeypox.
The Indian victim died a week after being hospitalized upon his return from the United Arab Emirates. It is not yet clear if the cause of death was monkeypox.
“The young man had no symptoms of monkeypox. He was hospitalized with symptoms of encephalitis and fatigue,” Kerala Health Minister Veena George said on Sunday, quoted by the Indian Express newspaper.
Twenty high-risk individuals, including relatives, friends and medical staff, who were likely in contact with the victim, were under surveillance, she said.
More than 18,000 cases of monkeypox have been identified worldwide since early May outside of Africa, most of them in Europe, according to the WHO.
Last week, Spain announced two deaths from monkeypox and Brazil one.
However, it is not clear whether monkeypox was the cause of these three deaths. The autopsy is still ongoing in Spain. In Brazil, the authorities claim that the deceased patient had other serious pathologies.
India has recorded at least four cases, the first of which was on July 15 in another man who returned to Kerala after a trip to the United Arab Emirates.