A man who died while infected with the monkeypox virus had other health problems, officials confirm as they urge calm until cause of death determined.
As of Monday (August 29), the CDC tallied 15 deaths around the world in monkeypox patients.
An unnamed adult male in Texas, who had been diagnosed with monkeypox, died while admitted to Harris County hospital, state health officials confirmed on Tuesday (August 20).
However the Texas Department of State Health Services say the patient was severely immunocompromised and the official cause of death is still unknown.
Although this person was a presumptive positive for monkeypox, it’s not yet known what, if any, role the virus had in their passing:
“What we’re looking to be able to determine is the specific cause of death. We know that this patient had monkeypox as a diagnosis, what we do not know for sure is that the patient passed away from monkeypox,” county officials said in a statement on Tuesday.
“We are sharing this information to err on the side of transparency and to avoid potential misinformation about this case,” the statement continued.
“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS commissioner, said in a further statement.
“We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”
More than 18,000 monkeypox cases have been reported so far across the US, with Texas confirming 1,604 total infections, the fourth-most of any state.
On the same day, during a White House press briefing, Dr. Jennifer McQuiston with the CDC expressed sympathy for the man’s death and said a full enquiry would be conducted:
“I think it’s important to emphasize that deaths due to monkeypox, while possible, remain very rare,” McQuiston said. “In most cases, people are experiencing infection that resolves over time. And there have been very few deaths even recorded globally. Out of over 40,000 cases around the world, only a handful of fatalities have been reported.”
At least 31 children, across 11 US states and jurisdictions, have tested positive for monkeypox, according to state officials across the country, per ABC News.
Florida has detected monkeypox cases among two children under the age of 4 – one in Brevard County and another in Monroe County, according to state data.
The CDC warned in an earlier health alert that preliminary evidence suggests children younger than 8 could develop more severe illness if infected with the virus.
On August 4 the US government declared a public health emergency over the monkeypox virus.
The move was to enable federal government more national discretion to help speed up the distribution of vaccines, treatments and federal resources, in an attempt try and curb the spread of the virus and to trigger extra assets to combat the outbreak.
“We might be “living with #COVID19” for the foreseeable future. But we don’t have to live with monkeypox. WHO will continue to support all countries to stop this outbreak and eliminate this virus”-@DrTedros
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) August 31, 2022