Photo Credit: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez
The Department of Public Health announced Monday the first recorded Monkeypox-related death in the United States since it made its way to the country months ago.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention affirmed the announcement of the health agency. They explained that the person’s weakened immune system caused the death following the Monkeypox infection. The CDC further stated that the individual was hospitalized prior to death.
The Department of Public Health said no further information would be revealed on the matter for the time being.
A Monkeypox death is a rarity
Deaths caused by Monkeypox are extremely rare. The cases that have been recorded often involve babies, women who are pregnant, and those with weak immune systems caused by other complications like HIV. There was a case in Harris County last month who contracted Monkeypox and died soon after. However, health authorities are yet to confirm if Monkeypox was the main reason for the death or another.
As of this year, over 22,000 cases have already been recorded in the US, CDC data reveals. Of the cases reported, California accounts for the largest number, 4,300. Zooming out, countries across the globe have already confirmed a total of 58,000 cases. Deaths from Monkeypox have also reached 18. With the new report, the total number of deaths caused by Monkeypox is now 19; this is only 0.00032% of the total positive cases. This only proves that deaths from Monkeypox are highly unlikely.
Monkeypox cases are dying down
The number of recorded Monkeypox cases is slowing, reports the CDC. However, health agencies warn that complacency will only hurt the country, so maximum caution is still encouraged.
“We’re continuing to see a downward trend in Europe. While reported cases from the Americas also declined last week, it’s harder to draw firm conclusions about the epidemic in that region. Some countries in the Americas continue to report an increasing number of cases, and in some, there is likely to be underreported due to stigma and discrimination or a lack of information for those who need it most,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization.
“A downward trend can be the most dangerous time if it opens the door to complacency,” he added.
Caution is encouraged
Authorities are still wary of a possible surge of Monkeypox cases if countries do not take precautions concerning Monkeypox. Therefore, health experts highly advise that the US continue doing mass vaccinations, especially targetting high-risk groups like pregnant women, children, and those with weakened immune systems.
“We’re not seeing the potentially exponential growth that we were seeing early on, so that is reassuring. Too early to say things look really good, but definitely some signs of slowing of cases,” said the public health commissioner of Chicago, Dr. Allison Arwady.
The Health and Human Services said a couple of weeks ago that it had procured enough Jynneos vaccines to administer to high-risk groups. The available Monkeypox vaccines in the US will increase as the country has made arrangements with Bavarian Nordic, the only company approved to deliver Monkeypox vaccines to the US.
Here’s the statement from the Los Angeles Department of Public Health:
The Los Angeles Department of Public Health, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has confirmed the first death due to Monkeypox in a Los Angeles County resident. Public Health sends heartfelt condolences and wishes of healing to the family and friends mourning the loss of their loved one.
The resident was severely immunocompromised and had been hospitalized.
To protect confidentiality and privacy, additional information on this case will not be made public.
Persons severely immunocompromised who suspect they have Monkeypox are encouraged to seek medical care and treatment early and remain under the care of a provider during their illness.
For more information, please visit the Country of Los Angeles Public Health website.