(RepublicanInformer.com)- Despite the lack of proof that monkeypox was a factor in a fatality, media outlets leaped to conclusions when they reported that a Texas resident had died this week.
The first death from monkeypox to be reported in the US during the current outbreak was in Harris County, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), which announced the news on Tuesday. The news spread quickly, with some media sites describing the death as “from” monkeypox.
There is only one issue: according to health professionals, there is absolutely no proof that the patient’s death was caused by monkeypox.
There has been confirmation from representatives from the Texas DSHS, Harris County Public Health, and Harris Health System that the patient in question was suspected of having monkeypox but also had a severely compromised immune system and was carrying many other serious illnesses. It won’t be possible to determine whether monkeypox contributed to the patient’s demise until the autopsy is finished and the results are released.
Many local news organizations, including MySanAntonio, KATV News, an ABC affiliate based in Arkansas, KFDM News in Beaumont, Texas, and the Texas Tribune, which had a search engine headline characterizing the case as a “Texas monkeypox death,” claimed in headlines and tweets that the person died “from monkeypox.”
National media outlets also were zealous in their breathless reporting. The Daily Mail dubbed the fatality a death “from monkeypox,” while The Washington Post called it a “monkeypox death” before immediately admitting the link to the virus was “unclear.” CBS News still refers to the case as the “first U.S. death in monkeypox outbreak.”
Since the patient had not yet had a test for the virus at the time of the announcement, it was thought they had monkeypox. In a news release, Harris County Public Health stated that the patient was “presumed positive” for monkeypox, whereas a release from Texas DSHS noted that the patient had been “diagnosed” with monkeypox.
Medical experts in Texas, according to a DSHS spokesman, lack the equipment to test specifically for monkeypox, but they do have the ability to test for the broader category of “Orthopoxvirus,” which encompasses viruses like monkeypox, smallpox, and cowpox.
Until the CDC conducts confirmatory testing, the case is not considered to be a confirmed case.
During the continuing global outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has received reports of about 20,000 cases of monkeypox. The Texas case will be the first in the country if it is determined that monkeypox caused the death. According to the World Health Organization, ten people with monkeypox have passed away in Africa thus far, along with three cases in Europe.
Men who identify as gay or bisexual make up the vast majority of cases.