Los Angeles County has reported the country’s first monkeypox death.

Health authorities in Los Angeles County said on Monday that a person had died from monkeypox, thought to be the first known death from the illness in the United States.

The cause of death was disclosed by the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, and an autopsy verified it, according to a spokeswoman. The patient was hospitalised and had acute immunosuppression. For reasons of privacy, the county did not divulge any more information.

The CDC states that 18 individuals outside of the nation have died from the illness in 2022, but the United States is home to the greatest monkeypox outbreak in the world, with about 22,000 cases so far this year.

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Before the spring, the virus, a less lethal relative of smallpox, was hardly ever seen outside of Africa. Now, it has spread to 103 nations and affected 58,000 people, 96 of which had never previously seen the sickness.

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Early data indicates that although fewer people are receiving the vaccination, black and Hispanic people are disproportionately affected by monkeypox.

Health officials are also looking into whether monkeypox was a factor in the August death of an immunocompromised adult from Texas. The Texas Department of State Health Services said that the patient had also been seriously immunocompromised.

In July, the World Health Organization added monkeypox to its list of “public health emergencies of worldwide concern,” along with polio and COVID-19.

Flu-like symptoms such as fever, swollen glands, muscular pains, and headaches frequently precede the onset of monkeypox. According to Dr. Marshall Glesby, an infectious disease expert at Weill Cornell Medicine and New York-Presbyterian, a rash often appears a few days later, however in this outbreak it occasionally appears earlier.

The outbreak has mostly impacted males who have sex with other men; as of mid-August, 98% of cases are among men and 93% of cases are among men who reported recent sexual contact with men. Close or intimate contact can spread monkeypox. However, the virus can strike anybody, regardless of sexual orientation or sex.

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The White House Monkeypox Response Coordinator Bob Fenton stated earlier this month that there is a vaccine for monkeypox and that the US has “ample supply to vaccinate the highest-risk individuals” against the virus.

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