Texas resident dies of monkeypox marking what may be the first US death from the virus

The person was 'severely immuno-compromised' at the time of their death and had monkeypox, officials said

Texas resident dies of monkeypox marking what may be the first US death from the virus
Texas reports the first US death of a person with monkeypox virus (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images)
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AUSTIN, TEXAS: An adult from Harris County resident who was diagnosed with monkeypox has died, marking the first publicly reported death associated with the virus in the US. The person was “severely immuno-compromised,” at the time of their death and had monkeypox, Texas Health and Human Services officials said.

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.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US has recorded more than 18,000 cases of monkeypox when this article was published. No one had died as of August 22. Fifteen deaths have been reported globally.

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A medical professional prepares a dose of the monkeypox vaccine on July 23, 2022 in London, England. The NHS is expanding its monkeypox vaccine rollout in London as monkeypox cases continue to increase in the capital. Monkeypox, a rare disease, is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox.
A  vial containing the monkeypox vaccine, a rare disease that is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox (Hollie Adams/Getty Images)

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 a 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. The incubation period (time from infection to symptoms) for monkeypox is usually 7−14 days but can range from 5−21 days. Within 1 to 3 days (sometimes longer) after the appearance of fever, the patient develops a rash, often beginning on the face and then spreading to other parts of the body. The US government said on Monday, August, 29, it would provide about $11 million to support Bavarian Nordic's Jynneos monkeypox vaccine.

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Federal health officials are particularly concerned about immunocompromised individuals living with HIV. Outside of immunocompromised people, officials warned that young children, pregnant individuals, and people with a history of eczema or atopic dermatitis may be at increased risk for severe outcomes. A spokesman for the CDC confirmed to the  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 agency said until an investigation into the death is complete, "it is premature to assign a specific cause of death." 

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The World Health Organization was first to declare the highest level of alert of the Monkeypox outbreak. In a press release issued by the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that "Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners." "This is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups. It’s therefore essential that all countries work closely with communities of men who have sex with men, to design and deliver effective information and services, and adopt measures that protect the health, human rights, and dignity of affected communities," he concluded. The virus was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) might harbor the virus and infect people.

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Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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