Texas has seen the first reported U.S. death from Monkeypox.
Texas health officials shared the news on Tuesday that a patient diagnosed with monkeypox has passed away. The patient was an adult with a severely compromised immune system from the Houston area. But the situation is still too new to know all the info. An investigation will happen to understand monkeypox’s role in the death, according to CNBC
The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) also released a statement about the death.
“Monkeypox is a serious disease, particularly for those with weakened immune systems,” said Dr. John Hellerstedt, the Texas state health commissioner. “We continue to urge people to seek treatment if they have been exposed to monkeypox or have symptoms consistent with the disease.”
Jennifer McQuinston with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said during a press briefing on MPV vaccination efforts that they are aware of the death.
“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 added, “So we’ll be reporting that out as soon as we have more information. I think it’s important to emphasize that death due to monkeypox, while possible, remains very rare.”
McQuinston also noted that despite there being only a few deaths to the disease worldwide, each one is significant and should be taken seriously.
“It’s serious, and our hearts certainly go out to this family who [has] lost a loved one,” McQuinston said.
While we know that the 2022 MPV outbreak is not considered an STI (sexually transmitted infection) because it is possible to spread MPV through non-sexual contact, the outbreak has been primarily associated with sexual contact (specifically between men). And it looks like that has affected the way men who have sex with other men (MSM) are engaging in sexual contact… namely, they’re not.
A new study from the CDC has found that “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) who have been disproportionately affected by MPV are reducing one-time partnerships.”
While “one-time partnerships” only make up 3% of daily sexual partnerships and 16% of daily sex acts, it makes up 50 percent of daily MPV transmission. The CDC says that a 40% reduction of “one-time partnerships” could delay the spread by 20-31 percent.
And it looks like MSM are getting the hint. The survey found that 47.8 percent of US MSM have actively reduced their number of sex partners in the last three months because of monkeypox. Plus, 9.8% mitigated or outright stopped one-time sexual encounters, while 49.6% reduced their sexual activity with a partner met on a dating app.
“These findings suggest that men who have sex with men are already taking actions to protect their sexual health and making decisions to reduce risk to themselves and their partners,” the report read. “Respondents reported changing sexual behaviours since they learned about the monkeypox outbreak.”