(HealthDay News) — A second person in the United States infected with monkeypox has died in California. As in the earlier case in Texas, public health officials are investigating what role the virus may have played in the death of this second patient.
“We will be doing an autopsy. So, it does take time for those results to come back. So, it may be as soon as a few days, or it may take a few weeks,” Los Angeles County’s Rita Singhal, M.D., told reporters on Thursday. The autopsy was planned for Friday.
An estimated 18 people have died around the world in this monkeypox outbreak, including eight in “locations that have not historically reported monkeypox,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California has more monkeypox cases than any other state, with 4,140 people known to be infected so far. More than 21,500 people have been infected in the United States, the CDC says.
Most people recover from the virus with minimal treatment, public health officials have said. Those who are considered to be at higher risk for severe outcomes are children younger than 8 years old, pregnant women, people who are immunocompromised, and those with a history of eczema, according to the CDC. Some people with HIV, especially those with untreated HIV, may have a higher risk for hospitalization. A large portion of cases in the outbreak have been in people with HIV, as reported in this week’s issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the CDC.
The CDC has asked the head of its National Center for HIV, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention (NCHHSTP) to now manage the monkeypox response.
“Monkeypox poses new concerns to health and safety. It requires that all of us step up with our expertise, tools, partnerships, programs, and talent,” NCHHSTP head Jonathan Mermin, M.D., wrote in a letter announcing his new role leading the response. “Many people within CDC and NCHHSTP are currently working on the monkeypox response, and many public health colleagues throughout the nation are being asked to take on additional responsibilities. I look forward to joining them in this effort.”