A 41-year-old man in Brazil has died of monkeypox, making him the first person outside of Africa to have been killed by the disease, local authorities said on Friday.
The man, who local media said had serious immune system problems, died in Belo Horizonte, the capital of the southeastern Minas Gerais state, on Thursday.
He “was receiving hospital treatment for other serious conditions,” the state health ministry said in a statement.
“It is important to underline that he had serious comorbidities, so as not to spread panic in the population. The death rate is very low” for monkeypox, said Minas Gerais health secretary Fabio Baccheretti, who added that the patient was undergoing cancer treatment.
Brazil’s health ministry has recorded close to 1,000 monkeypox cases, mostly in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro states, which are also in the country’s southeast.
The first case was detected on June 10 in a man who had traveled to Europe.
Early signs of the disease include a high fever, swollen lymph glands and a chickenpox-like rash.
The World Health Organization (WHO) last Saturday declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency.
According to the WHO, more than 18,000 cases have been detected throughout the world outside of Africa since the beginning of May.
It has been detected in 78 countries with 70 percent of cases found in Europe and 25 percent in the Americas, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday.