L.A. County Investigating First Potential Monkeypox Death

Health officials won’t know for sure until the autopsy results come back, but it would be the second monkeypox death in the U.S.

A little more than three months since monkeypox was initially detected in California, Los Angeles County health officials announced Thursday that they are investigating whether the virus has taken its first life in Los Angeles, and throughout the Golden State.

If monkeypox is determined to be the cause of death, the patient would be only the second person to die from monkeypox in the U.S. The first fatality occurred in Texas on August 28.

“We are early in the investigation and do not have additional details available at this time,” Dr. Rita Singhal, chief medical officer for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, said at press conference Thursday. “As soon as details become available we will share them while maintaining confidentiality and privacy.”

An autopsy is scheduled for Friday, CBS News reports. Until then, Singhal emphasized, “It’s not a confirmed death due to monkeypox. We do have a death of a person who did have a diagnosis of monkeypox. And so this is something that we will investigate further.”

Autopsy results take time to come back, she added, “So it may be as soon as a few days, or it may take a few weeks.”

The first case in L.A. County was reported on June 2, with the second case following less than a week later. As of September 8, there are 1805 confirmed cases of monkeypox in L.A. County, according to public health officials. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention puts the number of cases in California at 4,140, while the number of cases in the U.S. is 21,504.

Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign for our newsletters today