LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles County resident with a compromised immune system has died of monkeypox, local health officials announced Monday. It is believed to be the first death in the US from the disease.
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the cause of death, and a spokesman said it was confirmed by an autopsy. The patient was severely immunocompromised and had been hospitalized. No other information about the person was released.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks cases and has not confirmed any deaths in the US from the disease. Los Angeles County officials say they worked with the CDC on his case.
A CDC spokesman confirmed the cooperation but did not immediately respond when asked if this was the first death in the United States.
Texas public health officials on August 30 reported the death of a person who had been diagnosed with monkeypox. The person was severely immunosuppressed and his case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox may have played in his death.
read more: What it really feels like to have monkeypox
Monkeypox is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact and prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets. May cause rash, fever, body aches, and chills. Relatively few people require hospitalizations and only a few deaths worldwide have been directly linked to the disease.
The CDC recommends the monkeypox vaccine for people who are in close contact with someone who has the disease; people who know that a sexual partner was diagnosed in the last two weeks; and gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in an area with known spread of the virus. Vaccines are also recommended for healthcare workers at high risk of exposure.
The United States has the most cases globally, with 21,985 confirmed, according to the CDC. California has recorded the most cases nationally, with more than 4,300. Blacks and Latinos have been disproportionately infected.
A recent decline in cases, combined with a surge in vaccinations, has given the White House heart, as officials promise to increase vaccination offerings at LGBTQ Pride festivals across the country in the coming weeks.
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