A Los Angeles resident believed to be the first fatality of monkeypox in the United States has been reported dead from the virus.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed the death on Monday, pointing out that the person had a severely weakened immune system. Health officials further urged immunocompromised people to seek medical attention.
“Persons severely immunocompromised who suspect they have monkeypox are encouraged to seek medical care and treatment early and remain under the care of a provider during their illness,” the news release noted.
Two more U.S. deaths were under investigation when the Los Angeles resident’s death was first reported. Reports of the autopsy are still underway to determine whether monkeypox played a key role in the two individuals’ death.
Other possible monkeypox deaths still awaiting autopsy reports for confirmation include one reported in Texas of an individual who died on August 28 after suffering from various illnesses. The Harris County Public Health (HCPH) is yet to confirm if monkeypox was the primary cause of death.
The monkeypox virus spreads through direct contact with an infected animal or person. It can also spread when a person handles contaminated materials like blankets. Person-to-person transmission occurs through:
- Direct contact with bodily fluids or lesions.
- Prolonged close contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person.
- An infected pregnant person may transmit the virus to the fetus.
Animal to-person transmissions occur through:
- Animals’ scratches or bites
- Products made from infected animals
- Direct contact with rashes or body fluids from an infected animal.
To avoid getting infected with the monkeypox virus, you should avoid direct contact with people and animals with rushes resembling monkeypox. Wash your hands thoroughly after any contact with an infected animal or person. According to CDC, monkeypox can be prevented with the Jynneos smallpox vaccine, which can also be effective even after a person is already infected.