Los Angeles County reported the death of a person with monkeypox. The case is currently under investigation to determine whether the infection contributed to the death.
Rita Singhal, chief medical director of the county's Public Health Department, said more details are unavailable because the investigation is at an early stage.
"This is one of two deaths in the United States that are under investigation to determine whether monkeypox was a contributing cause," she said during the press briefing on Thursday.
Earlier this month, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) confirmed the first death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox. Officials said the case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death of the patient, who was also severely immunocompromised.
"I think it's important to emphasize that deaths due to monkeypox, while possible, remain very rare. In most cases, people are experiencing infection that resolves over time," said Dr. Jenny McQuiston from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monkeypox Incident Response Team earlier this month.
As of September 9, there were 21,894 reported cases of monkeypox in the US. However, the outbreak is slowing due to vaccination and efforts to prevent transmission.
The CDC data shows that 18 deaths of monkeypox have been recorded globally this year, seven of which are in non-endemic countries.
There are two major strains — or clades — of the monkeypox virus. The one circulating in the US is Clade II, which has a mortality rate of around one in 100. Clade I is much more severe, with a death rate of around one in 10.
Los Angeles County Public Health. COVID-19 and Monkeypox Media Briefing 9/8/2022.
CDC. 2022 Outbreak Cases and Data.