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

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

“On July 19, we got information that the man had undergone a test in the UAE (United Arab Emirates) for monkeypox and it came out positive. So, at that moment the private hospital authorities, they informed the health department and our team went there. And unfortunately the man died on July 19. 30 died in the evening,” George said on Monday.

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India’s federal health ministry had no comment on the death, except to say that the government had set up a task force of senior officials to monitor cases of monkeypox in the country, and that local media had reported at least five infections.

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

Health care workers screen passengers for symptoms of monkeypox on June 3, 2022 at the Anna International Airport terminal in Chennai, India.
(Arun Shankar/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 in Europe.

Monkeypox virus causes a disease with less severe symptoms than smallpox and occurs mainly in Central and West Africa. This disease is transmitted from animals to humans.

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