Because monkeypox is not a deadly disease, scientists around the globe are reportedly trying to understand why monkeypox can be serious and, rarely, fatal. This is probably prompting global health experts are reportedly racing to understand rare cases when monkeypox leads to death, CNN writes.
Quoting the latest World Health Organization (WHO) data, CNN writes that Spain had only two monkeypox deaths, one in Brazil, one in Ecuador and one in India — all so-called nonendemic countries. So far, none of these deaths have been in the US.
Dr. Rosamund Lewis, technical lead on the monkeypox response for WHO, is quoted saying “When people are exposed to infectious agents, they respond in different ways. Some won’t develop any symptoms or only mild problems like a low-grade fever. They get better and move on with their lives. Others, though, go on to develop very serious complications. We’re seeing that now.”
Some recent deaths of rather healthy men has reportedly raised alarm. Dr. Isabel Jado, director of Spain’s National Institute for Microbiology, said in a report “the two deaths in that country were in men ages 44 and 31. Their cases appear to be unrelated. The men didn’t know each other and weren’t from the same area. Before they got monkeypox, they were healthy, with no underlying risk factors for severe disease such as a weakened immune system. Both men developed encephalitis, or swelling of the brain, which can be triggered by viral infections. They eventually fell into comas and died.”
According to Andrea McCollum, an epidemiologist and pox virus expert at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “severity of monkeypox disease probably depends on a person’s underlying health, the health-care resources they have access to and the strain of the virus they’re infected with. In central Africa’s Congo Basin, about 11% of monkeypox cases are fatal, largely because the population hasn’t been vaccinated even against the related smallpox virus, which would protect against monkeypox.”
According to McCollum there are reported severe monkeypox cases but no deaths yet.
McCollum said “We are aware of a good number of patients here that have been hospitalized. Doctors are reporting that some of the complications they’re treating are urogenital complications or infections that spread to the eyes, so it still is a very serious illness.”