Officials have announced what could be the first monkeypox-related death in the US.
State Health Department officials in Texas reported the death of the “severely immunocompromised” Harris County patient. An investigation continues as to what exact role monkeypox may have played in their death.
There have been around 18,000 reported monkeypox cases in the US. The vast majority of these are in gay and bisexual men, but everyone is at risk. The infection is passed on via skin-to-skin contact, although it appears more likely during intimate or sexual contact.
Yesterday, during a White House press briefing, Jennifer McQuiston of the CDC was asked about the Texas death.
“It’s serious and our hearts certainly go out to this family who have lost a loved one. And while we are doing further investigation to find out what role monkeypox may have played, it’s important to focus that we have mitigation measures in place to prevent monkeypox,” she said.
“It’s important to emphasize that deaths due to monkeypox, while possible, remain very rare,” she said.
White House to target vaccine at big, gay events
Yesterday, the White House said it planned to continue targeting its vaccine rollout at large-scale LGBTQ events. This follows the success of a recent trial at Charlotte Pride in North Carolina.
Demetre Daskalakis, deputy director for the White House’s national monkeypox response, told reporters, “Given the progress we’ve made toward making the tools available to end this outbreak, our vaccine strategy is to meet people where they seek services, care or community — especially in communities of color. We know that Prides and other large LGBTQI+ focused events can do just that.”
Vaccine programs will take place this week at Southern Decadence in New Orleans (which will aim to deliver 6,000 shots). They will also go to Black Pride in Atlanta, and a further two events in Oakland, California.
Last Friday, the CDC issued new data stating “one-time sexual partnerships” accounted for 50% of monkeypox transmissions. This is despite the fact one-time hook-ups account for about “3 percent of daily sexual partnerships and 16 percent of daily sex acts.”
The CDC said that if people reduced their one-time hooks up for a while, it might significantly slow the spread of the virus.
“A 40% reduction in one-time partnerships might delay the spread of monkeypox and reduce the percentage of persons infected by 20% to 31%.”
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Last week, the CDC released data showing 50% of gay and bi men cutting their hook-ups because of fears about the infection.