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Los Angeles County is investigating the death of a person who was infected with the monkeypox virus.
In a Thursday media briefing, Dr. Rita Singhal, the chief medical officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said that the death was one of two in the U.S. that are currently under investigation to determine whether monkeypox was a contributing cause of death.
“We are currently investigating a death of a person with monkeypox in Los Angeles County. We are early in the investigation and do not have additional details available at this time,” she told reporters.
Across the world, there have been seven confirmed deaths among monkeypox cases in non-endemic countries.
In the California county, weekly new cases numbers recorded in August remained steady, although the data was incomplete due to a lag in reporting.
“Both the plateauing of new weekly cases and the increasing doubling time continue to support that monkeypox virus transmission is slowing in L.A. County,” Singhal said.
The department also announced that it had expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine to include residents who may be at future risk for exposure, in addition to those who have a current risk of exposure.
Those who are eligible now also include gay or bisexual men or any men or transgender people who have sex with men or transgender people, persons of any gender or sexual orientation who engage in commercial or transactional sex, person living with HIV and especially those with uncontrolled or advanced HIV disease and persons who had skin-to-skin or intimate contact with someone with suspected or confirmed monkeypox.
The first reported death of someone in the U.S. who had been diagnosed with monkeypox was in Texas last month.
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced that an adult in Harris County who was “severely immunocompromised” and diagnosed with monkeypox had died.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows 21,894 cases reported in the U.S., but no deaths.
In Los Angeles County, there are 1,836 cases as of early Friday.