Despite cases leveling off in the U.S., Texas on Tuesday reported the first monkeypox-related death in the nation.
Texas health officials said the Houston-area resident was severely immunocompromised. Officials are examining what role monkeypox had in the person’s death.
“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, state health commissioner. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”
Monkeypox cases dropped slightly last week nationally compared to the week prior. To date, there have been 18,101 cases of monkeypox reported in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In most cases, monkeypox is painful but not life-threatening.
Typical symptoms of monkeypox include a rash, fever, malaise, headache, and muscle aches.
The federal government has been working to make scarce monkeypox vaccines available. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said Monday the government is in the process of producing 1.1 million shots open to the public.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky said late last week that she is “cautiously optimistic” the U.S. is seeing mitigation measures begin to bring cases down.
“We’re actually seeing vaccines get out, behaviors change, harm reduction messages being heard and implemented. And all of that working together to bend the curve, if you will,” she said.