Health authorities are now investigating what role monkeypox may have played in the death of a person diagnosed with the virus, officials in California said Thursday. This is the second known person to die in the U.S. after contracting the virus during the current outbreak, APA reports citing CBS News.
The announcement comes less than a month after officials in Texas confirmed they were investigating a potential death from the virus.
California has tallied 4,140 monkeypox cases, more than any other state in the country.
"We will be doing an autopsy. So it does take time for those results to come back. So it may be as soon as a few days, or it may take a few weeks," Los Angeles County's Dr. Rita Singhal told reporters on Thursday.
The autopsy is scheduled to begin on Friday, a county spokesperson later confirmed to CBS News.
Singhal said the county was working with state and federal health officials to investigate the death, which might lead to changes in guidelines for doctors treating Americans facing severe illness from the virus.
Aside from weeks of excruciating rashes and lesions, authorities have said most cases in the outbreak have gotten better with only minimal treatment. Only a handful of reported cases have faced more dangerous symptoms.
The CDC says young children under eight years old, people who are pregnant or immunocompromised and people with a history of eczema "may be at especially increased risk for severe outcomes" from the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported early data on Thursday suggesting that some people with HIV – who make up a large portion of cases in the outbreak so far – may be at higher risk of being hospitalized with the disease, especially if their HIV was untreated.
In the Houston death reported last month, officials confirmed the patient was "severely immunocompromised." Singhal declined to confirm additional details about their case, saying they were "early in the investigation" of the death.
The CDC count 18 confirmed monkeypox deaths outside the U.S. in connection with the current outbreak. The CDC says eight of the deaths around the world are in "locations that have not historically reported monkeypox."
There have been no confirmed monkeypox deaths in the U.S. in connection with this outbreak.