Monkeypox death in CA is first confirmed in U.S., details of TX case still pending

By: - September 13, 2022 1:51 pm

Health worker administers a vaccination against monkeypox. Credit: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The first monkeypox-related death within the United States is now confirmed in Los Angeles County, Calif., involving a severely immunocompromised patient.

Meanwhile, public health officials in Texas weren’t saying much about whether a death in Harris County, or the Houston area, has been definitively linked to the viral infection.

In Florida, the virus has spread to 41 counties, with 2,282 total cases — mostly in South Florida, according to the latest report Tuesday from the Florida Department of Health.

Miami-Dade and Broward counties had the largest case counts, at 779 and 641, respectively.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the death there on Monday but offered few details in a press release — just that the agency, “along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has confirmed the first death due to monkeypox in a Los Angeles County resident.”

“Public Health sends heartfelt condolences and wishes of healing to the family and friends mourning the loss of their loved one,” the release read.

“The resident was severely immunocompromised and had been hospitalized. To protect confidentiality and privacy, additional information on this case will not be made public.”

A spokesperson for the department said in an email Tuesday to the Phoenix that “this press release has all the information we are allowed to give.”

As for the Texas case, the Florida Phoenix is awaiting a response from Harris County Public Health about the pending investigation into the death of an adult resident who was also severely immunocompromised.

Officials there have been mum so far about whether the death was caused solely by monkeypox, a viral disease spread through intimate contact and with symptoms including a painful rash, fever, chills, muscle aches, and itching.

As previously reported by the Florida Phoenix, officials first reported the potential link to monkeypox two weeks ago.

Worldwide, 18 deaths monkeypox-related death have been reported, according to the latest data from the World Health Organization.

Scott Pauley, CDC spokesperson, said in an email Tuesday to the Phoenix:

“CDC is aware of a reported death of an individual who had severe illnesses and presumed positive for monkeypox in Los Angeles County, California. 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 California officials to investigate this situation.”

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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.