A Los Angeles County resident with a compromised immune system has died from monkeypox, local health officials announced Monday. It's believed to be the first U.S. fatality from the disease. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health announced the cause of death, and a spokesperson said it was confirmed by an autopsy. The patient was severely immunocompromised and had been hospitalized. No other information on the person was released. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracks cases and has not confirmed any U.S. deaths from the disease. LA County officials say they worked with the CDC on their case. Also read: US may expand monkeypox vaccine eligibility to men with HIV A CDC spokesperson confirmed the cooperation but did not immediately respond when asked if this was the first U.S. death. Texas public health officials on Aug. 30 reported the death of a person who had been diagnosed with monkeypox. The person was severely immunocompromised and their case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox may have played in their death. Monkeypox is spread through close skin-to-skin contact and prolonged exposure to respiratory droplets. It can cause a rash, fever, body aches and chills. Relatively few people require hospitalizations and only a handful of deaths worldwide have been directly linked to the disease. Also read: WHO: Monkeypox cases drop 21%, reversing month-long increase The CDC recommends the monkeypox vaccine for people who are a close contact of someone who has disease; people who know a sexual partner was diagnosed in the past two weeks; and gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with known virus spread. Shots are also recommended for health care workers at high risk of exposure. Also read: WHO: Monkeypox cases drop 21%, reversing month-long increase The United States has the most cases globally, with 21,985 confirmed, according to the CDC. California has recorded the most cases nationally, with more than 4,300. Black people and Latinos have been disproportionately infected. A recent decline in cases, combined with an uptick in vaccinations, has encouraged the White House as officials promise to ramp up vaccination offerings at LGBTQ Pride festivals around the country in the coming weeks.
U.S. officials are considering broadening recommendations for who gets vaccinated against monkeypox, possibly to include many men with HIV or those recently diagnosed with other sexually transmitted diseases. Driving the discussion is a study released Thursday showing that a higher-than-expected share of monkeypox infections are in people with other sexually transmitted infections. Dr. John T. Brooks, chief medical officer for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's monkeypox outbreak response, said the report represents a “call to action.” Brooks told The Associated Press on Thursday that he expected vaccine recommendations to expand and that "the White House, together with CDC, are working on a plan for what that will look like.” Also read: WHO: Monkeypox cases drop 21%, reversing month-long increase Currently, the CDC recommends the vaccine to people who are a close contact of someone who has monkeypox; people who know a sexual partner was diagnosed in the past two weeks; and gay or bisexual men who had multiple sexual partners in the last two weeks in an area with known virus spread. Shots are also recommended for health care workers at high risk of exposure. The vast majority of monkeypox cases are in men who have sex with men who reported close contact with an infected person during sex. But the new CDC report suggested infections in people with HIV and other STDs may be a bigger issue then previously realized. The report looked at about 2,000 monkeypox cases from four states and four cities from mid-May to late July. It found 38% of those with monkeypox infections had been diagnosed with HIV, far higher than their share of the population among men who have sex with men. Also read: Public health emergency declared over monkeypox in WA county The study also found that 41% of monkeypox patients had been diagnosed with an STD in the preceding year. And about 10% of those patients had been diagnosed with three or more different STDs in the prior year. There were racial differences. More than 60% of Black Americans with monkeypox had HIV, compared with 41% of Hispanic people, 28% of whites and 22% of Asians. Jason Farley, an infectious disease expert at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, said men of color who have sex with men should be at the front of the line for monkeypox vaccine doses. Within those racial and ethnic groups, the next priority should be anyone living with HIV or was recently diagnosed with a STD, he said. The study has several limitations, including that the data may not be nationally representative, the authors said. Brooks said the findings could lead to vaccines being recommended for people with recent STD infections, people with HIV, people taking pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) medications to prevent HIV infection and, possibly, prostitutes. Discussions of expanding eligibility will have to take into account supply of the two-dose vaccine. And any substantial expansion of monkeypox vaccination recommendations may also be subject to review by CDC’s outside vaccine advisers, health officials say. Also on Thursday, the CDC sent a letter to state and local health departments that said federal funds for HIV and STD prevention can also now be used against monkeypox. Cases in the U.S. seem to be declining, officials say.
The number of monkeypox cases reported globally dropped by 21% in the last week, reversing a month-long trend of rising infections and a possible signal the outbreak in Europe may be starting to decline, according to a World Health Organization report issued Thursday. The U.N. health agency reported 5,907 new weekly cases and said two countries, Iran and Indonesia, reported their first cases. To date, more than 45,000 cases have been reported in 98 countries since late April. Cases in the Americas accounted for 60% of cases in the past month, WHO said, while cases in Europe comprised about 38%. It said infections in the Americas showed “a continuing steep rise.” The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday the continent had 219 new cases reported in the past week, a jump of 54%. Most were in Nigeria and Congo, the agency said. Also read: Public health emergency declared over monkeypox in WA county In early July, just weeks before the agency declared the international spread of the disease to be a global emergency, WHO’s Europe director said countries in the region were responsible for 90% of all laboratory confirmed cases of monkeypox. British health authorities said last week after seeing a decline in the number of new cases getting reported daily that there were “early signs” the country’s monkeypox outbreak was slowing. The U.K.’s Health Security Agency downgraded the country’s monkeypox outbreak last month, saying there was no evidence the once rare disease was spreading beyond men who were gay, bisexual or had sex with other men. Since monkeypox outbreaks in Europe and North America were identified in May, WHO and other health agencies have noted that its spread was almost exclusively in men who have sex with men. Also read: Monkeypox cases cross 35,000: WHO Monkeypox has been endemic in parts of Africa for decades and experts suspect the outbreaks in Europe and North America were triggered after the disease started spreading via sex at two raves in Spain and Belgium. WHO’s latest report said 98% of cases are in men and of those who reported sexual orientation, 96% are in men who have sex with men. “Of all reported types of transmission, a sexual encounter was reported most commonly,” WHO said. “The majority of cases were likely exposed in a party with sexual contacts,” the agency said. Among the monkeypox cases in which the HIV status of patients was known, 45% were infected with HIV. WHO has recommended that men at high risk of the disease temporarily consider reducing their number of sex partners or refrain from group or anonymous sex. Monkeypox typically requires skin-to-skin or skin-to-mouth contact with an infected patient’s lesions to spread. People can also become infected through contact with the clothing or bedsheets of someone who has monkeypox lesions. With globally limited vaccine supplies, authorities in the U.S., Europe and the U.K. have all begun rationing doses to stretch supplies by up to five times. WHO has advised countries that have vaccines to prioritize immunization for those at high risk of the disease, including gay and bisexual men with multiple sex partners, and for health workers, laboratory staff and outbreak responders. While Africa has reported the most suspected deaths from monkeypox, the continent has no vaccine supplies apart from a very small stock being tested in a research study in Congo. “As we know, the situation with monkeypox vaccine access is very topical, but there are not enough doses of vaccines," Nigeria Center for Disease Control Director-General Ifedayo Adetifa said this week. Potentially, a lot more more doses will become available, but because of challenges with manufacturing factories and unexpected uptick in monkeypox cases, the vaccine may actually not be available until 2023.”
The federal government declared a public health emergency Thursday to bolster the response to the monkeypoxoutbreak that has infected more than 7,100 Americans. The announcement will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body. “We are prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” said Xavier Becerra, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The declaration by HHS comes as the Biden administration has faced criticism over monkeypox vaccine availability. Clinics in major cities such as New York and San Francisco say they haven’t received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand, and some have had to stop offering the second dose to ensure supply of first doses. The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million doses available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week. The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. The people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone. No one in the United States has died. A few deaths have been reported in other countries. Read: China cannot stop US officials from visiting Taiwan: Pelosi Earlier this week, the Biden administration named top officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to serve as the White House coordinators to combat monkeypox. Thursday’s declaration is an important — and overdue — step, said Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University. “It signals the U.S. government’s seriousness and purpose, and sounds a global alarm,” he said. Under the declaration, HHS can draw from emergency funds, hire or reassign staff to deal with the outbreak and take other steps to control the virus. For example, the announcement should help the federal government to seek more information from state and local health officials about who is becoming infected and who is being vaccinated. That information can be used to better understand how the outbreak is unfolding and how well the vaccine works. Gostin said the U.S. government has been too cautious and should have declared a nationwide emergency earlier. Public health measures to control outbreaks have increasingly faced legal challenges in recent years, but Gostin didn’t expect that to happen with monkeypox. “It is a textbook case of a public health emergency,” Gostin said. “It’s not a red or a blue state issue. There is no political opposition to fighting monkeypox.” A public health emergency can be extended, similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic, he noted. The urgency in the current response stems from the rapid spread of the virus coupled with the limited availability of the two-dose vaccine called Jynneos, which is considered the main medical weapon against the disease.
Brazil on Friday confirmed the country's first monkeypox-related death, according to the Health Ministry. The case was reported in Belo Horizonte, capital of the southeast Minas Gerais state, and the victim was a 41-year-old man who was undergoing treatment for other serious clinical conditions, including cancer, and whose health deteriorated after getting infected, the ministry said. The man, whose name was not released, was admitted to a public hospital in Belo Horizonte, where he suffered septic shock aggravated by monkeypox. Read: New York City declares monkeypox a public health emergency In Minas Gerais, state health authorities said there were 44 confirmed cases of the disease and 130 suspected cases under investigation. In Brazil, there were 978 confirmed cases of monkeypox as of Wednesday. The World Health Organization has declared the current outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. Experts classify monkeypox as a rare viral disease that causes skin lesions and is transmitted through close contact with an infected person, including through hugs, kisses, massages or sexual intercourse, in addition to being transmitted through respiratory secretions or contact with clothing, towels, or other items used by the infected person. ■
Officials in New York City declared a public health emergency due to the spread of the monkeypox virus Saturday, calling the city “the epicenter” of the outbreak. The announcement Saturday by Mayor Eric Adams and health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said as many as 150,000 city residents could be at risk of infection. The declaration will allow officials to issue emergency orders under the city health code and amend code provisions to implement measures to help slow the spread. In the last two days, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency declaration and the state health department called monkeypox an “imminent threat to public health.” New York had recorded 1,345 cases as of Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California had the second-most, with 799. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as soon as they become available,” Adams and Vasan said in the statement. "This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment.” Read:San Francisco declares emergency over monkeypox spread The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23 and San Francisco's mayor on Thursday announced a state of emergency over the growing number of cases. The once-rare disease has been established in parts of central and west Africa for decades but was not known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere. To date, there have been more than 22,000 monkeypox cases reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday. The virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread primarily among men who have sex with men, though health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone. The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful.
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) Vice-Chancellor (VC) Dr Md Sharfuddin Ahmed said on Saturday that his institution is fully equipped to control any crisis created by global health hazard Monkeypox. The VC said this at a press briefing held at the Shaheed Dr. Milton hall of the university. Sharfuddin said that the World Health Organization (WHO) has termed Monkeypox as an identifiable and expansionary disease. “Around 17,000 people have been identified with Monkeypox worldwide till now. Although no Monkeypox case has been detected in Bangladesh yet, we’re being alerted about it. We’ll be able to tackle this disease if the countrymen avoid rumors and false alarms,” Sharfuddin said. Sharfuddin added that the Prime Minister will inaugurate the country’s first super specialized hospital built under the supervision of BSMMU on August 28. “This hospital is also a milestone for the government like the Padma Bridge. We’ll ensure that every patient can avail treatment at this hospital,” Sharfuddin added. Read: BSMMU VC warns against excessive use of antibiotics The VC also provided details about Monkeypox at the press briefing. “Monkeypox is a DNA virus. A person contracts this virus by direct communication with a carrier of this virus or eating insufficiently cooked meat of an animal containing the virus. This virus can also be contracted from droplets of breathing. Around 26 percent people infected with Monkeypox are also identified with HIV virus and 90 percent patient infected with this virus is aged below 15 years,” said Sharfuddin. Those infected with Monkeypox have to be treated in quarantine, said the VC. BSMMU Pro-VC Prof Dr Saif Uddin Ahmed, Treasurer Prof Dr Mohammad Atiqur Rahman, Dean Prof Dr Debabrata Banik, among others, were present at the briefing.
The mayor of San Francisco announced a state of emergency Thursday over the growing number of monkeypox cases, allowing officials to cut through red tape and fight a public health crisis reminiscent of the AIDS epidemic that began devastating the city in the 1980s. “We are at a very scary place. And we don’t want to be ignored by the federal government in our need. So many leaders of the LGBT community have also, weeks ago, asked for additional help and support and assistance,” said Mayor London Breed. The city is in “desperate need of vaccines,” she said. The declaration, which takes effect Monday, was welcomed by gay advocates who have grown increasingly frustrated by what they called San Francisco’s lackluster response to a virus that so far has affected primarily men who have sex with men, although anyone can get infected. “San Francisco was at the forefront of the public health responses to HIV and COVID-19, and we will be at the forefront when it comes to monkeypox,” said state Sen. Scott Wiener, a Democrat who represents the city. “We can’t and won’t leave the LGBTQ community out to dry.” The city has 281 cases, out of about 800 in California and 4,600 nationwide, according to the San Francisco Department of Public Health. A national shortage of vaccine has resulted in people waiting in line for hours for scarce doses, often to be turned away when the shots run out. Members of the LGBTQ community expressed anger and frustration at a city hearing last week, saying they were relying on social media because the San Francisco public health department had not dispensed basic information on testing or vaccine availability. Read: Oldest Magellanic penguin at San Francisco Zoo dies at 40 Supervisor Rafael Mandelman excoriated the department, saying it was unclear why it could not staff phone lines, especially after telling people to call those phone numbers for information, while the San Francisco AIDS Foundation was able to quickly staff a monkeypox information hotline. The organization also has started a wait list for people wanting the vaccine, unlike the public health department forcing people to wait in line. “It’s a bad look for San Francisco,” he said. After attending the San Francisco Pride weekend in late June, Tom Temprano, 36, got a notification that at least one other attendee had tested positive for monkeypox. He called four numbers that local health officials provided in an effort to get vaccinated, but no one picked up. He left voicemails. “I waited and I waited and I waited,” said Temprano, “And there was just sort of — I think for myself and many people — just growing concern, really, about our safety, given that we were further and further out from an exposure.” Finally, on July 8, two weeks after being potentially exposed to the virus at the pride event, and monitoring gay social media networks all the while, he learned through an Instagram post that a vaccine drop-in clinic was being held at San Francisco General Hospital. The poster said drop everything and go now. Temprano texted a half-dozen people and rushed over. He waited with hundreds of other people in a line that snaked out into the street and halfway down a block. After waiting for 3 1/2 hours, Temprano, who is the political director of San Francisco-based Equality California, got his first dose of the vaccine. One of his friends stood in line four times before he was able to get the shot. Temprano was scheduled to get his second dose next week but that was canceled — with vaccine in short supply, city officials have opted to prioritize getting first doses to people. He is frustrated that authorities have taken so long to respond, and noted they did so after LGBTQ politicians in his community raised their voices. “I think the saddest thing is there are people who are getting monkeypox now who tried to get that vaccine over the last month-and-a-half and couldn’t get one, who are sick and are in pain and are going to be out of work potentially for two to six weeks,” he said. Wiener had urged local and state officials to declare a health emergency, which he said would give the city and counties greater flexibility to respond to the growing outbreak. For example, it would streamline getting test results to people and allow a broader array of providers to perform vaccinations. Wiener, who is gay, also noted the parallels to the AIDS crisis in San Francisco. “I feel like this is like deja vu — that once again, gay men are getting attacked and demonized and blamed as we get sick, and that we can never tolerate that,” he said. In the early 1980s, the U.S. government was slow to react as the AIDS epidemic ravaged gay communities in San Francisco and elsewhere. Groups like ACT UP emerged to push for action to fight AIDS. That struggle has echoes today. Despite the problems with vaccine supply, federal officials said Thursday that the country’s monkeypox outbreak can still be stopped, amid worries that the U.S. has missed the window to contain the virus. The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, which includes sex, kissing, breathing at close range, and sharing bedding and clothing, the public health department said. Health officials are asking people who could be at risk to cover exposed skin when out in crowds and to watch out for symptoms, such as fever, blisters and rashes. The World Health Organization over the weekend declared the monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries a global emergency.
Peru is experiencing "community transmission" of the monkeypox virus, with 203 cases detected so far, head of the National Health Institute Victor Suarez said on Monday. Most of the infections are concentrated in Lima and its neighboring province of Callao, Suarez said during an interview with a private radio station. The nation has set up specialized sites to identify cases and a laboratory where test results are available within 24 hours, he said. Health Minister Jorge Lopez told journalists that most of those infected are men, between about 32 and 37 years old, and all of them are in stable condition. Read: UN health agency chief declares monkeypox a global emergency He added that Peru is heeding the international alert issued by the World Health Organization, which reported over 16,000 monkeypox cases in 75 countries on Saturday, and is evaluating the acquisition of vaccines against the disease.
A Nigerian man, who has contracted monkeypox and fled Thailand recently, was found here in the capital of Cambodia on Saturday evening, a deputy governor said. The 27-year-old man, identified as Osmond Chihazirim Nzerem, was found at Phsar Deum Thkov area in the Chamkarmon district after a report from the Thai authority, said Koeut Chhe, deputy governor of the Phnom Penh Municipality. "The Nigerian man was detained and sent to the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital," he told Xinhua via telephone. "We have also deployed our police force at the hospital to monitor the man as he does not cooperate with health staff." The Nigerian man was confirmed to be infected with monkeypox by the Thai health authority on Thursday. The patient, who entered Thailand's southern tourist island of Phuket in October 2021 with no departure record, had been sick for more than a week, developing symptoms including fever, sore throat, coughing and rashes, and sought treatment at a local hospital as an outpatient last week. Read: UN health agency chief declares monkeypox a global emergency According to the Phuket health authority, after the test result turned out to be positive, the patient refused to receive treatment, turned off his phone, did not contact the hospital and fled to Cambodia.