The first documented death from the virus in the US has been linked to monkeypox, according to the county Department of Public Health on Monday. The victim was a resident of Los Angeles County.
The individual had a very compromised immune system and had been hospitalized, according to the agency and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who also confirmed the connection. The department stated in a news release that no other information will be released.
“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 says.
Dr. William Schaffner, a professor in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, told CNN in an email that the person’s “impaired immune system could not control the virus once it entered his body, the virus multiplied in an uncontained fashion and it likely spread to several organ systems, causing their malfunction.”
Monkeypox deaths are exceedingly rare and frequently affect infants, expectant mothers, and persons with compromised immune systems, such as those with HIV. Monkeypox caused a person to pass away in Harris County, Texas, last month, although the virus’ involvement in that death has not been established.
According to CDC data, there have been nearly 22,000 cases of monkeypox registered in the US this year as of Monday. California has 4,300 cases, which is the most.