The Los Angeles County authorities in the US were looking into a second probable monkeypox-related death, media reports said. According to NBC News, Chief Medical Director Rita Singhal of the county's Public Health Department said details were unavailable at this early stage of the investigation. "This is one of two deaths in the US that are under investigation to determine whether monkeypox was a contributing cause," she was quoted as saying last week. On Monday, the department released a statement that provided some context regarding the death.
"The resident was severely immunocompromised and had been hospitalised," it said.
Recently, the Texas Department of State Health Services reported that a person diagnosed with monkeypox in the Houston area had died. He was described in a statement as "severely immunocompromised". The unnamed adult, who was being treated in Harris County, had "various severe illnesses" beside the virus, officials said earlier.
Texas officials, at the time, said that a cause of death was yet to be determined. ALSO READ: Monkeypox vs chickenpox: Are you immune if you've had smallpox before? Know difference in symptoms
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), a total of 52,997 people have been infected with the monkeypox virus. Of the cases registered in the last four weeks, 70.7 per cent came from the US and 28.3 per cent from Europe.
What is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis (a virus transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms similar to those seen in the past in smallpox patients, although it is clinically less severe. Monkeypox usually starts with fever, malaise, headache, sometimes sore throat and cough, and lymphadenopathy (swollen lymph nodes) and all these symptoms appear four days prior to skin lesions, rashes and other problems which primarily start from hand and eyes and spread to the whole body.
According to the information by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), there are two types of monkeypox virus- West African and Congo Basin. It is reported that the infection spreading at this time is from the West African type. ALSO READ: Monkeypox Scare: Australians warned to be on high alert against virus' symptoms
The West African type monkeypox infection is rarely fatal. Over 99% of people who get this form of the disease are likely to survive. However, people with weakened immune systems, children under 8 years of age, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding may be more likely to get seriously ill or die.
Although the West African type is rarely fatal, symptoms can be extremely painful, and people might have permanent scarring resulting from the rash.
The Congo Basin type of monkeypox virus has a fatality rate of around 10%