Virginia public health officials have reported that one person in the state has died from complications related to Mpox, the disease formerly known as monkeypox before the World Health Organization renamed it, in a desperate bid to get more people vaccinated by it reduces the stigma surrounding the disease.
The death of the Virginia resident brings the US death toll from mpox to 16, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Virginia health officials declined to reveal the person’s age, gender identity or immunization status, saying only that the person resided in the “eastern region,” which includes Virginia Beach, the Hampton Roads region, and the rural one, according to the statement east coast belong The Washington Post.
“Our thoughts are with the family of the deceased at this difficult time,” State Health Commissioner Colin Greene said post in an opinion. “Mpox is a serious illness, especially for people with compromised immune systems. If you have been exposed to MPOX or have symptoms consistent with the disease, we urge you to seek medical attention now.”
The CDC reports that there have been 29,630 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States since the outbreak began in May. Of these, 524 cases occurred in the District of Columbia, 558 in Virginia and 732 in Maryland. Before Thursday, the only death in the region had occurred in October. The deceased was a Maryland resident who was immunocompromised and tested positive for mpox.
Monkeypox infections have fallen dramatically since the summer, although local jurisdictions continue to report new cases on a weekly basis. Health officials attribute curbing the spread of the disease to an aggressive campaign to identify and vaccinate those at risk, including those who are immunocompromised or are at higher risk of infection because of their sexual behavior.
According to CDC data, more than 9 out of 10 confirmed cases of MPOX infection have occurred in cisgender men. The majority of cases also involve men who report having sex with other men. While initially 6 in 10 people infected with the virus were white, that percentage has since fallen to less than a third of all cases as more people have been vaccinated.
The District of Columbia has the highest case rate per capita of any state. The district has given more than 38,000 doses of vaccine to residents as the criteria for vaccination has since expanded to include anyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender, who has had anonymous or multiple sex partners in the past two weeks.
Groups thought to be at highest risk for acquiring mpox include men who have sex with men, transgender men and women, sex workers, and workers in bathhouses, saunas, or sex clubs. Typical symptoms of infection include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, and a rash of lesions on the skin. Most cases do not require hospitalization, but can be extremely uncomfortable while symptoms persist.