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First U.S. Monkeypox-Related Death Reported in Texas

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The first patient with MPV (monkeypox virus) has died in Texas.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) released a statement reporting that a Houston-area MPV patient had passed.

"The patient was an adult resident of Harris County who was severely immunocompromised," the statement read. "The case is under investigation to determine what role monkeypox played in the death."

Officials have not released any identifying information about the patient, nor have authorities provided any more details on the Houston case.

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

Dr. Jennifer McQuiston with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a press briefing on MPV vaccination efforts that the agency is aware of the death and is investigating. 

"It's our understanding this patient also had underlying health conditions and had a number of things going on," McQuiston said. "And I think that additional investigation is needed to know what role monkeypox may or may not have played in their deaths."

She indicated that the CDC would make information about the case available when possible.

"So we'll be reporting that out as soon as we have more information," she said. "I think it's important to emphasize that death due to monkeypox, while possible, remains very rare."

McQuiston explained that out of more than 40,000 cases of MPV worldwide, only "a handful" of patients have died of complications from the infection.

She added, "It's serious, and our hearts certainly go out to this family who [has] lost a loved one."

As CDC continues to investigate what role MPV might have played, it's essential to focus on mitigating measures to prevent MPV, she said.

"Get vaccinated. If you're sick, go to a doctor, get tested. And if you have severe illness, there are treatments that are available," McQuiston implored.

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