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Texas Reports First US Death of Person with Monkeypox


The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) has confirmed the first death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox. Health officials say the case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death.

The patient was an adult resident of Harris County who was severely immunocompromised, the Texas DSHS said in a statement.

“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS Commissioner. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”

Dr. Jenny McQuiston from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Monkeypox Incident Response Team said during the press briefing on Tuesday that an additional investigation into the Texas patient death is needed.

“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,” she said.

It is the first publicly reported death linked to monkeypox in the US outbreak. The CDC data shows that 15 deaths of monkeypox were reported globally this year, six of which were in non-endemic countries.

The monkeypox spreads through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including:

  • Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox.
  • Touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that someone with monkeypox has used.
  • Contact with respiratory secretions.

People with monkeypox get a rash on or near the genitals or anus, but it could also appear on other areas, such as the hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth. The rash that can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy will go through several stages, including scabs, before healing.

Resources:

1. Texas DSHS. Texas Confirms First Death of a Person with Monkeypox.

2. The White House. Press Briefing by White House Monkeypox Response Team and Public Health Officials.

3. CDC. 2022 Monkeypox Outbreak Global Map.

4. CDC. Signs and Symptoms.

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