The overwhelming number of Americans who had severe cases of monkeypox also had HIV, according to a Wednesday report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC looked at 57 adult patients who were hospitalized for their monkeypox infections during the organization’s study period of Aug. 10 through Oct. 10.
Of those patients, 47 (82%) had an HIV infection, 17 patients (30%) were placed in the intensive care unit (ICU) and 12 (21%) of them died, the report said.
Monkeypox was either the cause of death or a contributing factor in five of those deaths, and wasn’t a factor in one of the deaths. Another six deaths are still being investigated to see if monkeypox was a causal or contributing factor.
Most of the patients (72%) had a CD4 white blood cell count well below 50, indicating a highly vulnerable immune system. Only four of the patients in the study period were taking medication for their HIV infection prior to being diagnosed with monkeypox.
The CDC said that all patients had severe skin rashes. In addition, 68% developed lesions inside their mouth or nose, and around their genitalia.
The large majority of those patients (95%) were men who were Black (68%). The median age in the study was 34, and 13 patients (23%) were homeless.
There are more than 28,000 cases of monkeypox in the U.S. and six total deaths since the outbreak began this spring.