First Monkeypox Death in U.S. Confirmed in Texas; Infections in Puerto Rico Climb to 110, None So Far in USVI
A person in Texas who was diagnosed with monkeypox died on Tuesday, Texas state health officials have announced, with the incident becoming the first known death related to monkeypox in the U.S.
The Texas Dept. of State Health Services said Tuesday that while officials were investigating the extent of the role monkeypox played in the person’s death, it was the first known fatality in the state. The patient was an adult resident of Harris County and was “severely immunocompromised.” Further details were not provided.
Texas Health Commissioner Dr. John Hellerstedt urged those who have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms to immediately seek medical attention. “Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” he said.
Until recently, monkeypox was rarely found outside some parts of Central and West Africa, however a recent outbreak which started in the United Kingdom has led to more than 48,400 cases in over 60 countries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the death in Texas represented the first known monkeypox-related fatality in the U.S., 15 people have died from monkeypox in other parts of the world this year, including countries the virus isn’t typically seen, according to the CDC.
In the U.S., over 18,400 cases have been confirmed as of Wednesday, including 110 in Puerto Rico, the CDC’s latest chart shows. No cases were confirmed in the U.S. Virgin Islands as of Monday, according to local health officials.
Monkeypox is a virus that causes chickenpox-like rash and other symptoms. The CDC said the virus has spread the most among men who have sex with men.
The World Health Organization on July 23 declared monkeypox a global public-health emergency of international concern.
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