The United States has recorded its first case of death from monkeypox in Texas, health officials announced on Tuesday morning. The immunocompromised adult, who has not been identified, was receiving care in Houston, the state's largest metropolis, which is located in Harris County, Texas Department of Health and Human Services said.
No further details have been shared. At the time of his death, the person had monkeypox, officials said, and the "case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death." There have been 15 reported cases of the monkeypox virus-related deaths globally, including four in Nigeria and two in Spain.
Concerns Arise Again
According to health officials, the patient was "severely immunocompromised" and suffered from "various severe ailments" in addition to the virus at the time of his death. Although the cause of death has not been determined, if monkeypox is found to be the cause, this will mark the first monkeypox death in America during the current outbreak.
Although no deaths have been reported so far, the United States is experiencing the largest monkeypox outbreak in the world, with more than 18,101 cases reported thus far in all 50 states.
More than nine in ten are gay or bisexual men, who are being offered vaccines against the disease.
The virus, which is indigenous to west Africa, has reached over 50,000 cases worldwide after spreading to more than 40 countries.
"Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems," John Hellerstedt, the commissioner of the state's health services department, said in a statement. "We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease."
US on High Alert
Texas health officials said in a statement that an autopsy was being conducted to determine the cause of death. Results are anticipated during the upcoming weeks. Due to privacy concerns, more information, including the person's age and sex, is not being made public at this time.
On Monday, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said: "We are sharing this information to err on the side of transparency and to avoid potential misinformation about this case."
"The best way for us to fight this virus is through vaccines. Our goal is still to get as many people who qualify vaccinated as quickly as possible â I have always felt that vaccines are key to reducing spread," Hidalgo added.
According to the CDC, the viral disease monkeypox spreads by "close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact." That includes sexual activity but is not limited to it. A rash that scabs over before healing might appear on the genitalia, hands, feet, chest, face, or mouth.
Other symptoms and indicators include fatigue, muscle aches, headaches, and respiratory issues like a cough or nasal congestion.
The majority of patients recover in approximately four weeks, but there are worries that more vulnerably affected populations, including children, can experience a more serious illness.
During the current pandemic, sex contact between gay or bisexual men is the primary method of virus transmission.