LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Los Angeles County resident with a compromised immune system has died of monkeypox, local health officials said Monday. This is believed to be the first US death from the disease.
The Los Angeles County Public Health Department released a cause of death, which a spokesperson said was confirmed by an autopsy. No other information about this person has been released.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking cases, and no US deaths from the disease have been confirmed. LA County officials say they worked with the CDC on their case.
A CDC spokesperson confirmed cooperation but did not immediately respond when asked if this was the first death in the United States.
On August 30, public health officials in Texas reported the death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox. The person was severely immunocompromised, and their case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in their death.
Monkeypox is spread by close skin-to-skin contact and prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets. May cause rash, fever, body aches and chills. Relatively few people require hospitalization, and only a handful of deaths worldwide are directly related to the disease.
CDC recommends the monkeypox vaccine for people who have been in close contact with someone who has the disease. People who know that their sexual partner has been diagnosed within the last two weeks. Gay or bisexual men who have had multiple sexual partners in the past two weeks in areas where the virus is known to spread. Shots are also recommended for healthcare workers at high risk of exposure.
The United States has the highest number of cases in the world, with 21,985 confirmed cases, according to the CDC. California has recorded the highest number of cases in the nation, with over 4,300. Blacks and Latinos are disproportionately infected.
The recent drop in cases combined with an uptick in vaccinations has encouraged the White House as officials pledge to increase vaccination offerings at LGBTQ pride festivals across the country in the coming weeks.
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