Second person in US dies after contracting monkeypox as reported total cases top 21,000

Health officials in Los Angeles County say they do not know what role monkeypox played in the person’s death

Io Dodds
San Francisco
Friday 09 September 2022 20:34 BST
LA County investigating possible monkeypox death

A second person in the US has died after contracting monkeypox, health officials say.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said on Thursday that it is investigating what role the virus might have played in the death.

Chief medical officer Rita Singhal stressed that her staff do not yet know whether or not the virus killed the person.

Although there have now been over21,000 reported cases of monkeypox so far, with the true number of infections probably far higher, this is only the second death in the US that is being investigated in connection with the disease.

“We are currently investigating a death of a person with monkeypox in Los Angeles County,” said Dr Singhal. “We are early in investigation, and do not have additional details available at this time. As soon as details become availabile we will share them, while maintaining confidentiality and privacy.

“This is one of two deaths in the United States that are currently under investigation to determine whether monkeypox was a contributing cause of death. Across the world, there have been seven confirmed deaths among monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries.”

Nearly 57,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed across the world in 2022 so far, the vast majority in areas where the virus has not historically been common.

In the US, new cases averaged over seven days have fallen from their peak of around 450 per day in mid-August to around 250 per day at the start of August.

The vast majority of people infected in the US are men who have sex with men, who caught it through sexual contact, but it is not purely a sexually transmitted disease and can be spread through other forms of close contact such as skin to skin contact or contact with infected clothes and sheets.

Last month, health officials in Texas said that a “severely immunocompromised” man had died after contracting monkeypox, and that they were investigating what role the virus had in his death.

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