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Brazil reports first monkeypox death outside Africa

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SAO PAULO/ Manila: Brazil on Friday reported the first monkeypox-related death outside the African continent in the current outbreak, a 41-year-old man who, according to the health ministry, also suffered from lymphoma and a weakened immune system.


"The comorbidities aggravated his condition," the ministry said, adding the patient was hospitalised in the southeastern city of Belo Horizonte and died from septic shock after being taken to the intensive care unit.


The first monkeypox death in the Americas came less than a week after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the rapidly spreading outbreak a global health emergency, its highest level of alert.


The WHO had so far reported only five confirmed monkeypox deaths, all in Africa.


Brazil, along with the United States and Canada, is among the countries most affected by monkeypox in the Americas, where more than 5,000 cases have been reported to date, according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).


PAHO said in a press briefing this week that almost all cases had been reported among men who have sex with men between the ages of 25 and 45, but warned that anyone can get the disease regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. (Reporting by Pedro Fonseca; Additional reporting by Jennifer Rigby; Writing by Gabriel Araujo; Editing by David Gregorio)


FIRST CASE IN THE PHILIPPINES


The Philippines has reported its first case of the monkeypox virus, detected in a citizen who returned from abroad earlier this month, a health ministry official said on Friday.


The 31-year-old had recovered but was isolating at home, while 10 people identified as close contacts including three from the patient's household had been ordered to quarantine, said Department of Health Under-Secretary Beverly Ho.


The person had previously travelled to countries with documented monkeypox cases, said Ho, without elaborating.


Around 70 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease as confirmed cases crossed 20,300 and the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency.


The Philippine case was confirmed positive on Thursday and the close contacts had not shown any symptoms, Ho said.


Transmission can occur through contact with skin lesions caused by the virus, as well as bodily fluids, large respiratory droplets and contaminated bedding.


"Our (public health surveillance) systems are in place. But we all need to work together. We need also the public to be vigilant," Ho told a briefing.


"Based on what we know about monkeypox...there is a very clear need to be more careful about who we interact with, particularly sexual, intimate contact."


The health ministry requires people exposed to monkeypox cases to quarantine for 14 to 21 days.


The president's press secretary said while monkeypox was not generally fatal, the rapid spread of the virus was of concern.


"(President Ferdinand Marcos') primary concern is to get the information out so that people would be aware," said Trixie Cruz-Angeles. — Reuters


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