A Northwell Health worker holds the monkeypox vaccine at Cherry Grove on Fire Island, New York, where monkeypox vaccines were administered July 14, 2022.
James Carbone | news day | Getty Images
Health officials in Ohio reported the death of an adult man with monkeypox, the third death in the United States of someone who has tested positive for the virus since the outbreak began in May.
The unidentified man had other health issues, according to the state health department, which announced his death late Thursday.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned Thursday in a health alert for doctors that people with weakened immune systems due to HIV and other conditions are at a higher risk of developing severe symptoms from the virus.
The US had the largest monkeypox outbreak in the world, with more than 25,000 reported cases in all 50 states, Washington DC and Puerto Rico, according to CDC data.
The outbreak has slowly slowed as the two-dose Jynneos vaccine has become more widely available and people have become more aware of the precautions to take to avoid infection.
Los Angeles health officials confirmed earlier this month that a person with a severely compromised immune system died after being hospitalized from monkeypox.
Texas health officials reported in late August that an adult in the Houston area who was diagnosed with monkeypox had died. This person also had a severely compromised immune system. The cause of death in this case is still under investigation.
While monkeypox is rarely fatal, it causes a blister-like rash that can be extremely painful.
The virus spreads primarily among gay and bisexual men through close contact during sex. But anyone can become infected through close contact with an infected person or with contaminated material.
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In a study published earlier this month, the CDC found that 38% of every 2,000 people diagnosed with monkeypox were living with HIV. And people with HIV were more likely to be hospitalized with monkeypox than other patients, according to the study.
In its health alert this week, the CDC warned of severe monkeypox symptoms, which include a persistent rash that turns into lesions that lead to the death of affected tissue. In some cases, treatment required surgery and even amputation of the affected limb, according to the agency.
Other severe symptoms include lesions covering a significant part of the body with secondary bacterial or fungal infections. Extremely painful lesions in sensitive areas such as the throat, urethra, rectum, and vagina have also been reported.
Some lesions cause scarring, resulting in narrowing of the urethra or anal canal, according to the CDC. Facial scars have also been reported.
In other cases, multiple organ systems were affected, leading to neurological disorders such as encephalitis and cardiac disorders such as myocarditis. Conjunctivitis and ulcers on the cornea have also been reported, threatening people’s vision.