Health · August 4, 2022

India confirms first death from monkeypox in Asia

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

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

“We have been informed that the individual had been tested for monkeypox in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) on July 19 and found positive. At that moment, the private hospital authorities informed the health department and our team went there and unfortunately that person died on the evening of July 30,” George said Monday.

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India’s Federal Health Ministry did not comment on the death, except that the government has formed a task force of senior officials to monitor cases of monkeypox in the country, where local media have reported at least five infections.

Health care workers at the terminal of Anna International Airport in Chennai, India, check passengers for monkeypox symptoms June 3, 2022.

Health care workers at the terminal of Anna International Airport in Chennai, India, check passengers for monkeypox symptoms 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, most of them in Europe.

The monkeypox virus causes a disease with less severe symptoms than smallpox and is found 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 on internal mucosal surfaces such as the mouth or throat, respiratory droplets, and contaminated objects.