The Chicago Department of Public Health confirmed Friday the deaths of two Chicago residents in which monkeypox was a contributing factor. Health officials said the individuals were immunocompromised, resulting in a more severe case.
"Both individuals had multiple other health conditions, including weakened immune systems, and received a MPV diagnosis more than six weeks ago, and both had been hospitalized," a statement from CDPH said.
The deaths of the two adults are unrelated to each other, the statement said.
According to CDPH, deaths from moneypox are extremely rare. Among more than 75,000 monkeypox cases reported globally in the 2022 outbreak, there have been 32 reported deaths, according to the World Health Organization.
"Though the number of new MPV cases has declined substantially since summer, this is a stark reminder that MPV is dangerous and can cause serious illness, and in very rare cases, even death," said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D.
In this photo illustration, blood test vials are seen in front of a screen that says ''Monkeypox'' (Photo illustration by Nikos Pekiaridis/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
CDPH says people living with a condition that weakens the immune system, such as advanced or untreated HIV, AIDS, certain cancers, an organ transplant or another immune deficiency disorder, may be more likely to have serious complications or need treatment. Getting vaccinated can protect against getting MPV or can reduce the severity of illness if you do get MPV.
"The vast majority of people with MPV who died have had other health conditions along with MPV causing severely weakened immune systems," Arwady said. "Please continue to take it seriously. If you’re at risk of MPV infection, take prevention steps and get vaccinated to protect yourself and your loved ones. These measures are especially important if you have comorbidities and/or a weakened immune system."
Arwady encouraged all Chicago residents to follow the recommended prevention steps and to get vaccinated if exposed to MPV or are at higher risk of being exposed.