India confirms first monkeypox death in Asia

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India confirmed its first monkeypox death, a young man from the southern state of Kerala, on Monday in what is only the fourth known death from the disease in the current outbreak.

Kerala Health Minister Veena George said he tested positive in the United Arab Emirates before returning to India.

“We were informed that the person had taken a test on July 19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for monkeypox, and he was found positive. So, at that time, the private hospital authorities informed the health department and our team went to the scene. and sadly that person died on the evening of July 30,” George said on Monday.

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India’s federal health ministry has not commented on the death except to say the government has formed a task force of senior officials to monitor monkeypox cases in the country, where local media reported at least five infections.

Healthcare workers at the Anna International Airport terminal in Chennai, India, screen passengers for symptoms of monkeypox on June 3, 2022.

Healthcare workers at the Anna International Airport terminal in Chennai, India, screen passengers for symptoms of monkeypox on June 3, 2022.
(ARUN SANKAR/AFP via Getty Images)

The World Health Organization said late last month that 78 countries had reported more than 18,000 cases of monkeypox, the majority in Europe.

It indicates that the monkeypox virus causes a disease with less severe symptoms than smallpox and occurs mainly in central and western Africa. The disease is transmitted from animals to humans.

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Human-to-human transmission occurs through contact with bodily fluids, lesions on the skin or internal mucous surfaces, such as in the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects.