The United States has reported its first monkeypox death amid the outbreak.
Health officials announced Monday that the first confirmed monkeypox fatality was recorded in Los Angeles County, KTLA reported.
“Public Health sends heartfelt condolences and wishes of healing to the family and friends mourning the loss of their loved one,” the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health officials said in a statement.
The death is believed to be the first fatality due to monkeypox in the U.S., but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has yet to confirm any deaths from the virus thus far.
The health officials recommended that severely immunocompromised people seek medical care as early as possible amid the public health crisis.
The county health department said the deceased patient “was severely immunocompromised and had been hospitalized” before their passing.
No other details regarding the case were released to protect the confidentiality and privacy of the resident and their family.
The death comes after six other countries reported deaths from the virus, including India, Brazil and Spain. Monkeypox death is not common in non-endemic countries, so experts urge everyone to take action and help contain the virus, according to Politico.
Based on the latest U.S. map and case count by the CDC, the country has already reported 22,630 confirmed monkeypox cases.
Though most cases reported mild symptoms, health experts said that the virus spreading in the country poses the risk of serious complications. The first fatality also highlights the severity of the disease for some people.
“This is not a benign infection. This death is very concerning to all of us. We have to stay the course. We have to monitor this,” the National Coalition of STD Directors executive director David Harvey said at a Tuesday briefing.
“It is clear that there are complications that are life-threatening with this virus, with inflammation of the brain, for example, encephalitis, inflammation of the lung, called pneumonitis, and also a very high risk for pregnant women, particularly for preterm pregnancies and fetal death,” Infectious Diseases Society of America board member Cesar Arias added at the briefing.