NEW YORK (PIX11) – Two people in New York City have died after contracting monkeypox, health officials said Friday, the first deaths linked to the disease since the outbreak began in June.
“We are deeply saddened by the two reported deaths and our hearts go out to the individuals’ loved ones and community,” a spokesperson with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene said. “Every effort will be made to prevent additional suffering from this virus through continued community engagement, information-sharing and vaccination.”
Most people who contract monkeypox are not hospitalized and they recover on their own, health officials said. People who do die from monkeypox typically have pre-existing conditions, according to Northwell Health Dr. Eric Cioe-Pena.
“Things like cancer, diabetes, advanced heart disease, those all can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible,” Cioe-Pena said.
New York City was the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak in the United States, but cases have sharply declined since the summer months.
New York City averaged more than 70 new cases each day during the peak of the outbreak in July, according to health department data. The city has been averaging just around five new cases each day in October.
“Anyone can get and spread [monkeypox]. The current cases are primarily spreading through sex and other intimate contact among social networks of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM); transgender people; gender-nonconforming people; and nonbinary people,” the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website states.
People of any sexual orientation who are at risk for monkeypox can now get vaccinated in New York City. Vaccination information is available on the New York City health department website.