The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a warning against severe monkeypox illness after the country reported its third patient death this week.
The public health agency said via CNN it was aware of the latest monkeypox fatality, so it issued a new warning to health care providers about the possibility of severe illness in people with the virus.
According to the CDC, some people in the country have been observed with “severe manifestations” of the illness amid the ongoing outbreak of the virus. Some have had extended hospitalizations and or “substantial” health problems.
The agency also published a health alert on its website, saying its purpose was to inform healthcare providers about severe manifestations in the country and the higher risk for severe illness of people with HIV or other serious medical conditions.
The CDC noted that there are “diagnostic and clinical management strategies” that could help healthcare providers address severe illness due to monkeypox infection.
“Healthcare providers should be aware of risk factors for severe manifestations of monkeypox and should conduct HIV testing for people with confirmed or suspected monkeypox,” the agency added.
Deaths from monkeypox are reportedly extremely rare, but pregnant women, babies and people with weak immune systems are at a greater risk for severe illness and death. The latest data showed more than 67,000 cases and 27 deaths globally amid the outbreak thus far.
The CDC issued its warning in the wake of the Ohio Department of Health’s announcement of an adult male’s death while battling monkeypox. It was the third fatality in the U.S. of someone who tested positive for monkeypox since the outbreak reached the country in May.
The department noted that the unidentified patient had other health conditions apart from the virus, which primarily spreads among gay and bisexual men through intimate contact.
But even if gay and bisexual men account for most of the cases in the country, CNBC pointed out that anyone can catch the disease through close contact with someone who has the virus or with contaminated objects and surfaces.