A Los Angeles County resident with a compromised immune system has died of monkeypox, local health officials announced Monday. This is believed to be the first death from the disease in the United States.
Los Angeles County Health Department announced the cause of death, and a spokesman said it was confirmed by an autopsy. The patient had a serious immunodeficiency, he was hospitalized. No other information about the person was reported.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases and has not confirmed any deaths from the disease in the US. Los Angeles County officials say they have been working with the CDC on their case.
A CDC spokesman confirmed the cooperation but did not immediately respond to a question about whether this was the first death in the US.
Texas health officials Aug. 30 reported the death of a person who was diagnosed with monkey pox. The man was severely immunocompromised and his case is being investigated to determine what role monkeypox may have played in their deaths.
Monkeypox is transmitted by close skin-to-skin contact and prolonged exposure to droplets in the respiratory tract. It can cause a rash, fever, body aches and chills. Relatively few people require hospitalization, and only a few deaths worldwide have been directly linked to the disease.
The CDC recommends the monkeypox vaccine for people in close contact with sick people; people who know a sexual partner was diagnosed in the last two weeks; and gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with a known spread of the virus. Arrows are also recommended for medical workers with high exposure risk.
The United States has the most cases in the world, with 21,985 confirmed cases, according to the CDC. California had the most cases in the country, with more than 4,300. Blacks and Hispanics were disproportionately infected.
A recent decline in the number of cases combined with an increase in vaccinations, the White House encouraged while officials promise to ramp up vaccination offerings at LGBTQ Pride festivals across the country in the coming weeks.
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