The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe five cases of monkeypox have been discovered in the United States – including one case in New York – according to an announcement on Monday. The federal agency is advising healthcare providers to treat these incidents as true positives as it conducts follow-up testing and conducts outreach to potentially vulnerable populations.
The update follows an announcement Friday from the city’s health department and New York State Health Officials that one of the two suspected monkeypox patients had tested positive for “orthopoxvirus, the family of viruses to which monkeypox belongs”. They said the incident was being treated as a “presumptive positive,” meaning it needed secondary confirmation from the CDC.
“I want to emphasize that we are only in the early days of this response. It is likely that there will be additional cases reported in the United States,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, veterinarian and deputy director of the Division of Pathogens and High Consequence Pathologies at the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases in the United States. CDC. Monday briefing. “The CDC is poised to help our state health partners learn more about how cases are occurring and how we can help bring these outbreaks under control.”
When monkeypox spreads from person to person, it’s usually through close, sustained skin-to-skin contact with someone with an active rash – or through respiratory droplets from someone who has lesions in the mouth. It can also be spread from infected animals or contaminated materials. Symptoms of monkeypox resemble those of the flu and include fever, headache, and muscle aches. But It is characterized by swollen lymph nodes and rash-like lesions that appear throughout the body
“What we’re talking about here is close contact. This is not a situation where you bump into someone at the grocery store, [and] they’re going to be at risk for monkeypox,” McQuiston said.
There is currently one confirmed case of monkeypox in Massachusetts. In addition to the suspected case in New York, two others are suspected in Utah, as well as one in Florida. The CDC expects to receive samples of the four possible cases between Monday and Tuesday for confirmatory testing.
During Monday’s briefing, CDC medical epidemiologist Dr John Brooks said while anyone can develop monkeypox, many of those affected by the current outbreak identify as gay men. and bisexual.
“Sensitization of this reality is key to empowering people to make informed decisions about their personal health and the health of their community,” said Dr. Brooks.
He said that although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted infection in the typical sense, it could be spread through intimate contact or shared bed. He urged anyone with a new or unexplained rash to see their doctor or get evaluated.
“Some groups may have a greater chance of being exposed at this time. But in no case [is] the current risk of monkeypox exposure exclusively to the gay and bisexual community in the United States,” said Dr. Brooks.
These developments follow a series of outbreaks in Europe. The World Health Organization on Monday, without citing evidence, blamed European outbreaks on sex at two major raves in Spain and Belgium, according to the Associated Press. The WHO states that more than 90 cases have been reported worldwide since May 13, mostly in Europe. According to Dr McQuiston, this epidemic is different from those of the past because most cases do not have recent travel records to countries in West or Central Africa, where the disease is usually present.
According to health experts, the best way to deal with cases is to isolate if infected and follow up anyone who has come into close contact with a patient. Healthcare providers are advised to tell close contacts to monitor for symptoms and self-isolate if they show signs.
According to the CDC, people generally recover in 2 to 4 weeks without specific treatment. Antiviral drug can curb infections already underway, and the CDC says it has more than 100 million doses of smallpox vaccine to contain future outbreaks.
Apart from smallpox, which has been eradicated worldwide through vaccination, only monkeypox and cowpox are part of the Orthopoxvirus family which are believed to cause disease in humans. The smallpox vaccine provides cross protection against monkeypox. Smallpox has never been reported in the United States and is not thought to be spread from person to person.
This story has been updated with additional information.
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