Texas health officials investigate US' 1st possible monkeypox death: 4 updates

Health officials in Harris County, Texas, said a resident with various severe illnesses who was also presumed to be positive for monkeypox died Aug. 28 at a local hospital. 

The official cause of death is unknown, and an autopsy report is expected in a few weeks, according to health officials. The Harris County health department said it is working with the CDC and state health department to determine whether monkeypox may have played a role in the person's death. It's unclear what other "various severe illnesses" the person had. 

"We are sharing this information to err on the side of transparency and to avoid potential misinformation about his case," said Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo. 

Three more updates on the nation's monkeypox outbreak: 

1. U.S. cases have surpassed 18,000, CDC data shows. Several major U.S. cities have seen early signs that the outbreak may be peaking. During an update on Aug. 26, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said while nationwide cases are still rising week over week, the rate at which they're rising appears to be slowing. "We're watching this with cautious optimism, and really hopeful that many of our harm-reduction messages and our vaccines are getting out there and working," she said. 

2. HHS is investing $11 million to support production of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine. The funds will support the nation's first "fill and finish" facility in Grand Rapids, Mich. Grand River Aseptic Manufacturing plant will put the product from the manufacturer, Bavarian Nordic, into 2.5 million vials. 

3. Physicians are seeing a broad presentation of monkeypox symptoms among patients, The New York Times reported Aug. 26. Physicians told the news outlet they have seen infected patients who don't ever develop a rash characteristic of the disease, patients with pox or lesions as their only symptom, as well as cases where patients experience confusion and seizures. And some patients have had lesions that look more like mosquito bites or ingrown hairs rather than the large pustules typical of the infection. 

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