Sept. 30, 2022 -- Ohio health officials reported the death of a monkeypox patient, marking the third known death of a U.S. patient with monkeypox, according to CNN.

The Ohio Department of Health said Friday that an adult male with monkeypox died. He also had “other health conditions,” CNN reported, but no other details were released.

On Thursday, the CDC issued a new warning to health care providers about severe illnesses in people with monkeypox, particularly those with weak immune systems due to HIV or other conditions.

“During the current outbreak in the United States, 38 percent of people diagnosed with monkeypox were coinfected with HIV and most reported cases of monkeypox with severe manifestations have been among people living with untreated HIV,” the CDC wrote.

The CDC said some people in the U.S. have had “serious manifestations” of the monkeypox virus, including prolonged hospitalizations and “substantial” health problems. Some of the severe issues have included:

  • A persistent rash with tissue that is dying or wounds growing together, including some that required extensive surgery or amputation of a limb on the body 
  • Injured tissue or wounds in sensitive areas, such as the mouth, urethra, rectum, or vagina, that cause severe pain and interfere with daily activities
  • Bowel wounds or injured tissue with significant swelling, sometimes leading to obstruction
  • Injured tissue or wounds that cause scarring with “significant” effects in areas like the genitals, bowels, or face
  • Involvement of multiple organ systems and associated conditions, such as encephalitis, myocarditis, conjunctivitis, and corneal ulcerations

The CDC noted that most people diagnosed with monkeypox have had mild or moderate illness, although severe cases can happen in anyone. The health alert urged health care providers to be aware of risk factors for severe monkeypox and said anyone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox should be tested for HIV. 

Doctors should also check whether someone has a weak immune system due to another chronic condition or an immune-related medication, the CDC said. Before undergoing monkeypox treatment, patients with weak immune systems should stop other medications that could affect their immune system. Those with HIV should have antiretroviral therapy.

The first U.S. death due to monkeypox was confirmed earlier this month in Los Angeles County, California, CNN reported. Health officials said the person had a severely weakened immune system and had been hospitalized.

In August, a person in Texas died after contracting monkeypox. But health officials haven’t determined or disclosed whether the virus played a role in the patient’s death, CNN reported.

More than 68,000 monkeypox cases and 27 deaths have been reported worldwide, according to the latest CDC data

In the U.S., more than 25,000 monkeypox cases have been reported, CDC data shows. Case numbers appear to be falling, CNN reported, which health officials have attributed to an increasing number of people who have been vaccinated against the virus.

Earlier this week, the CDC expanded eligibility for the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to high-risk people who haven’t yet been exposed to the virus, according to Reuters. The CDC said high-risk people — such as men who have sex with men or those who live with HIV — were 14 times more likely to be infected if they were unvaccinated, as compared with those who were at least two weeks past their first vaccine dose.

Show Sources

CNN: “CDC warns of severe illnesses from monkeypox as Ohio reports death of a monkeypox patient.”

CDC: “Severe Manifestations of Monkeypox among People who are Immunocompromised Due to HIV or Other Conditions.” “2022 Monkeypox Outbreak Global Map.” “Monkeypox 2022 U.S. Map & Case Count.”

Reuters: “U.S. CDC expands pre-exposure eligibility for monkeypox vaccine.”

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