Texas patient reported monkeypox death; unclear virus link

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Authorities are investigating the death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox in Texas to determine if it is the first known death in the United States in an outbreak declared a national emergency.

Health officials said the Harris County resident who died on Sunday was a severely immunocompromised adult who had various bass diseases. They warned that the cause of death, including the role played by monkeypox, remains unknown; Autopsy results will be available in the coming weeks.

“Monkey pox is a serious disease, especially for people with weakened immune systems,” John Hellerstedt, commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services, said in a statement on Tuesday. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have reported more than 18,000 monkeypox infections in the United States and no deaths. The World Health Organization has reported nearly 50,000 cases of monkeypox worldwide and 15 deaths.

“It is important to stress that deaths from monkeypox, although possible, are very rare. In most cases, people have an infection that resolves over time,” Jennifer McQuiston, incident manager for the CDC’s monkeypox response, told reporters on Tuesday. “This is serious and our thoughts are certainly with this family who have lost a loved one.”

The Texas state health agency declined to provide further details about the death. A Harris County Health Department spokesperson did not immediately return a request for comment.

“We are sharing this information to err on the side of transparency and to avoid potential misinformation about this case,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo said in a statement. “The best way for us to fight this virus is through vaccines. Our goal is always to get as many people who qualify as vaccinated as quickly as possible. »

Monkeypox causes an illness that lasts several weeks with symptoms such as fever, swollen glands and a rash that can spread throughout the body. Some of the most extreme cases involve people suffering excruciating pain from damage to the anus and urethra when going to the bathroom. In cases reported to CDC44% involved rectal pain, 25% rectal bleeding and 23% pain when wanting to pass stool.

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Infections were overwhelmingly recorded in men who have sex with men and disproportionately in people living with HIV. Less than 1 in 10 people diagnosed with monkeypox were hospitalized in samples of cases reviewed in detail by researchers.

The current outbreak of monkeypox appears to be less deadly than recent ones in parts of Africa where the virus is endemic and where the fatality rate was 3 to 6%.

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