1st U.S. monkeypox death confirmed in Los Angeles County
The Department of Public Health for Los Angeles County confirmed the first U.S. death associated with the monkeypox virus on Monday, CNN reports.
The case was confirmed in a news release from the department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statement said that the person was hospitalized and had a compromised immune system and that they would not publicly release any further details concerning the case.
In an email to CNN, Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, clarified that the person's "impaired immune system could not control the virus once it entered his body, the virus multiplied in an uncontained fashion, and it likely spread to several organ systems, causing their malfunction."
Fatal cases of monkeypox are rare and tend to affect babies, pregnant women, and those with weak immune systems. Last month a person with monkeypox in Texas died, but whether or not the virus was culpable remains unconfirmed, CNN reports.
CDC data shows that nearly 22,000 cases of probable monkeypox have been reported in the U.S., and California has logged the highest number of patients at 4,300. Of the 58,000 infections reported globally, 18 fatal cases have been confirmed. While trends in monkeypox cases seem to be on a decline, health officials warn against complacency.