CDC tallies 6 monkeypox deaths: 3 updates

Health officials in Illinois, Maryland, New York and Nevada are the latest states to report deaths in residents who tested positive for monkeypox, CBS News reported Oct. 21. 

The deaths were among people with weakened immune systems and other underlying health conditions, local health department officials said in their statements announcing the deaths, according to CBS.

CDC data now shows there have been six U.S. deaths tied to monkeypox, up from two last week. There have been nearly 28,000 confirmed cases nationwide since May, according to data updated Oct. 21. 

In August, Texas health officials reported the nation's first confirmed death in a person diagnosed with monkeypox. Health officials are still investigating whether that death was due to monkeypox. And in California, health officials in early September said they were investigating whether monkeypox contributed to the death of a patient who tested positive for the virus. It's unclear which states are included in the CDC's six reported deaths. 

Two more updates: 

1. A Florida hospital nurse contracted monkeypox from a needlestick in July, the CDC said in an Oct. 17 report. The nurse was exposed when recapping a needle used to pierce a lesion on a patient to access fluid for testing. The patient tested positive for monkeypox that same day. The nurse tested positive 10 days after the exposure. 

2. A deadly monkeypox variant is surging in Central Africa, health experts told National Geographic in an Oct. 20 report. The strain behind the global outbreak is known as Clade II, but in Central Africa, a variant that's 10 times deadlier is spreading. It's called Clade I, or Congo Basin Strain. Experts are urging global health authorities to take more action to prevent the variant from further spreading in the region and from spilling over into other areas. 

"If the West African strain can spread to Europe, America, and other parts of the world, the more virulent and pathogenic Congo Basin strain can also go there," Dr. Dimie Ogoina. infectious disease expert at Niger Delta University in the southern part of Nigeria, told National Geographic. "International health stakeholders must be deliberate to help address monkeypox and other diseases in Africa. Because if we don’t do this, it will come back to haunt us."

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