While Ohio Reports the Death of a Monkeypox Patient, the CDC Issues a Severe Illness Warning

While Ohio Reports the Death of a Monkeypox Patient, the CDC Issues a Severe Illness Warning

On Thursday (September 29, 2022), the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention issued a fresh alert to medical professionals on severe diseases in monkeypox patients.

The warning was issued when Ohio announced that a patient with monkeypox had passed away, making it the third case of monkeypox patients in the US to pass away.

Ohio listed the death in an update to its online monkeypox outbreak dashboard Thursday. The Ohio Department of Health on Friday said an adult male with monkeypox had died, and the individual had “other health conditions.” The CDC told CNN it is aware of the death.

This month, Los Angeles County received confirmation of the first monkeypox-related death in the US. The person had been hospitalized and had a severely compromised immune system, according to the CDC and the county public health department. The department stated that no more information will be disclosed to the public.

A person in Harris County, Texas, who had monkeypox died in August, but the virus’ role in that death has not been confirmed.

Monkeypox is extremely seldom fatal, however those at higher risk include infants, pregnant women, and those with compromised immune systems. According to the World Health Organization, there have been 27 fatalities among the more than 67,000 cases that have been documented internationally during the current outbreak.

More than 25,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, but recent case trends suggest that the outbreak is slowing in the US.

Falling case numbers might be a reflection of rising numbers of people vaccinated against the virus. This week, the CDC announced that it’s expanding eligibility for the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to higher-risk people who have not been exposed to the virus.

According to data released by the CDC on Wednesday, unvaccinated men were 14 times more likely to have monkeypox than those who were at least two weeks past their first dose of the vaccination. These guys were at high risk for the disease due to having sex with other men or living with HIV.

CDC warns of ‘severe manifestations’ of monkeypox

The CDC said Thursday that some people in the US who were infected with monkeypox during the ongoing outbreak have had “severe manifestations” of the illness, extended hospitalizations or “substantial” health problems.

The agency’s health alert notes that severe monkeypox can happen in anyone, and most people diagnosed during this outbreak have had mild or moderate illness. Most people whose illness has been severe have had HIV with “substantial immunosuppression,” it says.

Some of the severe illnesses have included:

  • Coalescing or necrotic lesions requiring extensive surgical care or amputation of an extremity
  • Lesions in sensitive areas like the mouth, urethra, rectum or vagina that cause severe pain and affect daily activities
  • Bowel lesions with significant swelling, leading to obstruction
  • Lesions causing 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 advisory urges health-care providers to be aware of risk factors for severe monkeypox and says anyone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox should be tested for HIV. Providers should also check whether the person’s immune system may be weakened by another condition or by a medication.

Monkeypox treatment in people who have weakened immune systems should involve stopping any medications that may be affecting the immune system, providing antiretroviral therapy for those with HIV, and possibly using medications such as tecovirimat, known as Tpoxx.

The CDC says people who were exposed to monkeypox through sexual contact should get tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.