New York Daily News: By Kate Feldman – An immunocompromised adult in Texas may be the first reported monkeypox death in the United States, according to local health officials.
The unidentified person died in Harris County, the Texas Department of Health and Human Services announced Tuesday with no other details.
At the time of their death, the person had monkeypox, officials said, and the “case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death.”
“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the state’s health services department, said in a statement. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”
As of the most recent update from the Centers for Disease Control and and Prevention, the U.S. has recorded more than 18,000 cases of monkeypox. No one had died as of Aug. 22.
Fifteen deaths have been reported globally.
A spokesperson for the CDC confirmed to the Daily News Tuesday that officials are “aware of a reported death.”
“Our thoughts are with the family during this heartbreaking time. It is important to remember that infections with the type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak — the Clade IIb — are rarely fatal. Most people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive,” the CDC said in a statement.
“However, people with weakened immune systems may be more likely to get seriously ill or die. CDC continues to closely monitor the monkeypox outbreak and we are actively working with Texas officials to investigate this situation. Until the investigation is complete, it is premature to assign a specific cause of death.”
Monkeypox, a viral disease, spreads through “close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact,” according to the CDC. That includes, but is not restricted to, sexual intercourse.
Symptoms and signs include rash on the genitals, hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth that scabs before healing, fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches, headache and respiratory problems like a cough or nasal congestion.
Top Feature Photo: People line up to receive the monkeypox vaccine at a walk-in clinic at the North Jersey Community Research Initiative – Seth Wenig/AP