Characteristics of Mpox Infections in Louisiana in the 2022 Outbreak

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AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses


The 2022 outbreak of mpox in Louisiana was limited to just >300 cases, perhaps an unexpected outcome given the state’s high rates of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We aimed to describe the local outbreak within two health centers in the New Orleans region, partnering with the Louisiana Department of Health to offer additional statewide data. We reviewed charts of persons testing positive for mpox in New Orleans from July to November 2022 at two local health centers that together accounted for half of local cases. We abstracted data on HIV status, immune function [CD4 count, viral load (VL)], antiretroviral therapy regimen, symptoms and severity of infection, vaccination status, and whether tecovirimat was administered. We present local data relative to statewide data (July 2022–January 2023). Of 103 individuals in our network for whom charts were reviewed, 96 (93%) identified as male, 52 (50%) were Black, and 69 (67%) had HIV, including 12 (17%) with uncontrolled HIV (CD4 < 200 cells/mm3 or VL >200 copies/mL). The most common presenting symptoms were rash (n = 71, 69%), fever (n = 36, 35%), and rectal pain (n = 33, 32%). Of six (6%) patients hospitalized, four (67%) were persons with HIV (PWH). Two were hospitalized for severe mpox infection with >100 lesions at presentation; both were PWH, and one had uncontrolled infection. Across the state, 307 cases have been identified and 24 have been hospitalized. Of those hospitalized, 18 (75%) were PWH, including 9 (50%) with uncontrolled HIV. The demographic data from Louisiana, a state with high prevalence of STIs and HIV/AIDS, are consistent with prior reports describing the 2022 mpox outbreak. Our results contribute to accumulating data on the severity of infection in individuals with HIV-related immunocompromise.

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