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Los Angeles County is investigating the death of a person infected with the monkeypox virus.
In a news conference Thursday, Dr. Rita Singhal, chief medical officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said the death was the result of an ongoing U.S. investigation to determine whether monkeypox was responsible for the death.
“We are currently investigating the death of a monkeypox patient in Los Angeles County. We are in the beginning stages of our investigation and have no further details at this time,” she told reporters.
Globally, seven monkeypox deaths have been confirmed in non-endemic countries.
Monkeypox cases drop despite growing racial disparities
In California counties, the weekly number of new cases recorded in August remained steady, but data was incomplete due to delays in reporting.
“The stagnation of weekly new cases and increased doubling times continue to support that the spread of monkeypox virus in Los Angeles County is slowing,” Singhal said.
The Ministry of Health also announced that it has expanded eligibility for the monkeypox vaccine to include residents who may be at risk of exposure in the future, in addition to residents currently at risk of exposure.
Monkeypox: What you need to know about the virus
Also eligible now are gay or bisexual men or any male or transgender or transgender person who has sex with men, persons of any gender or sexual orientation engaged in commercial or transactional sex, people living with HIV, especially are those with an uncontrolled disease. Or have advanced HIV disease and have had skin-to-skin or close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed monkeypox.
Last month, the first reported death of a person diagnosed with monkeypox in the United States occurred in Texas.
A “severely immunocompromised” adult in Harris County who was diagnosed with monkeypox has died, the Texas Department of Health Services announced.
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The U.S. has reported 21,894 cases but no deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of Friday morning, there were 1,836 cases in Los Angeles County.