16 monkeypox deaths worldwide; TX officials confirm first death of person diagnosed with monkeypox

By: - September 1, 2022 3:39 pm

Monkeypox. Credit: World Health Organization.

With 16 monkeypox deaths across the globe, the United States is closely monitoring a potential monkeypox death in Texas, federal health officials have reported.

The Texas Department of State Health Services this week “confirmed the first death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox in Texas. The patient was an adult resident of Harris County who was severely immunocompromised. The case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death.”

Meanwhile the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed that “CDC is aware of a reported death of an individual who had severe illnesses and presumed positive for monkeypox in Harris County, Texas,” said CDC spokesman Scott Pauley.

“Our thoughts are with the family during this heartbreaking time. It is important to remember that infections with the type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak—the Clade IIb —are rarely fatal. Most people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. However, people with weakened immune systems may be more likely to get seriously ill or die. CDC continues to closely monitor the monkeypox outbreak and we are actively working with Texas officials to investigate this situation.  Until the investigation is complete, it is premature to assign a specific cause of death.”

In Florida, infections have been identified in more than half of the states’ counties, with nearly 2,000 monkeypox cases, according to data from the Florida Department of Health.

The World Health Organization, (WHO) which is also monitoring the situation, has reported 16 deaths worldwide.

The WHO data show four deaths in Nigeria, three in Ghana, two in Central African Republic, two in Spain, one in Brazil, and one in each of the other four countries — India, Ecuador, Cuba and Belgium.

Overall, Florida has seen 1,957 cases across 35 counties, as of Thursday, according to state data. Most infections have been in South Florida, with Miami-Dade County reporting 706 and Broward reporting 592.

Meanwhile, the WHO held a meeting to provide updates on the global situation concerning the disease that can cause a painful rash and other symptoms. Officials didn’t mention any U.S. deaths due to monkeypox at that time.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, said Wednesday that “some European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, are also seeing a clear slowing of the outbreak” because of “public health interventions and community engagement.”

However, he said, “In the Americas, which accounts for more than half of reported cases, several countries continue to see increasing numbers of infections, although it is encouraging to see a sustained downward trend in Canada.”

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Issac Morgan
Issac Morgan

Issac Morgan is a 2009 graduate of Florida A&M University's School of Journalism, and a proud native of Tallahassee. He has covered city council and community events at the Gadsden County Times, worked as a sports news assistant at the Tallahassee Democrat, a communications specialist for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, and as a proofreader at the Florida Law Weekly.