Nine Monkeypox cases confirmed across seven states in US

Disease has yet to cause any deaths in US or Europe

John Bowden
Thursday 26 May 2022 19:50
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What is Monkeypox?

An outbreak of monkeypox in the United States has reached nine people across seven states, according to the US Centers for Disease Control.

The disease, which has not caused any deaths, typically presents with severe cold or flulike symptoms including fevers, swollen lymph nodes, body aches and other uncomfortable issues before presenting with its easily identifiable poxlike pus-filled blisters on the skin.

“We need to presume that there is some community spread, but there is active contact tracing that is happening right now to understand whether and how these cases might have been in contact with each other or with others in other countries," CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said on Thursday, according to The Washington Post.

The case total has jumped from three days ago, when just one case was confirmed by the agency.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) notes that no deaths have been reported from the current outbreak of monkeypox, which has presented according to the WHO with generally milder symptoms than did some previous cases of the disease, which caused more serious issues especially in immunocomprised patients. The outbreak is reported in about a dozen WHO member-states where the disease is not endemic, including the US.

“Current available evidence suggests that those who are most at risk are those who have had close physical contact with someone with monkeypox, while they are symptomatic. WHO is also working to provide guidance to protect frontline health care providers and other health workers who may be at risk such as cleaners,” advises the WHO.

Ms Walkensy further noted on Thursday that all US cases of the disease were so far involving men who were engaged recently in sexual relations with other men, though she stressed that the disease should be approached without stigma. The general transmission of the disease is also “not limited to any one particular group”, the CDC director added.

“Stigma and discrimination in public health results in decreased access to care, ongoing disease transmission and a blunted response to outbreaks and threats. So I urge everyone to approach this outbreak without stigma and without discrimination,” said the director.

Monkeypox outbreak news comes as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to persist in the United States; just over 800 deaths resulting from Covid were reported across the US on Wednesday.

Health officials have stressed that the two diseases present radically different risks to the overall population given the total lack of fatal cases of monkeypox so far, but have cautioned immunocompromised Americans to remain alert and advised all American travelers to “practice enhanced precautions” while traveling in areas where other outbreaks are reported.

“Immediate actions focus on informing those most at risk for monkeypox infection with accurate information, stopping further spread and protecting frontline workers,” the WHO’s advisory states.

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