Texas records nation’s first potential death from monkeypox

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reported Tuesday that an adult resident of Harris County died after being diagnosed with MPV or monkeypox virus. The case is under investigation to determine if monkeypox was the cause. DSHS said the patient was “severely immunocompromised” and maintains that infection for most people is not life-threatening. 

 

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“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, DSHS Commissioner. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”

If confirmed, the case would represent the nation’s first recorded death from the disease. The number of monkeypox cases surged by more than 50% last week, with 1,616 cases recorded in the state as of Monday.  

DSHS is urging Texans to contact their local health care provider if they have fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and a new, unexplained rash. 

The state received 14,780 doses of the 2-dose JYNNEOS monkeypox vaccine last month, which the department has been distributing to local health departments through a Vaccine Allocation and Ordering System. 

Monkeypox is a preventable disease that spreads through close contact with an infected person. DSHS is advising the public to abide by the following guidelines to help prevent the spread of monkeypox:

  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact with someone with a new, unexplained rash.
  • Avoid close, skin-to-skin contact in large crowds where people are wearing minimal clothing, such as nightclubs, festivals, raves, saunas, and bathhouses.
  • Do not share cups, utensils, bedding or towels with someone who is sick.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

DSHS will continue to post guidance for the public and update statewide case counts at dshs.texas.gov/news/updates.shtm#monkeypox.