US monkeypox cases now at 21, two strains identified | Trending

FRIDAY, June 3, 2022 (HealthDay News) — The number of known cases of monkeypox in the United States has risen to 21 in 11 states, federal health officials said Friday.

Cases are also largely concentrated in gay or bisexual men, with the virus appearing to be transmitted through intimate skin-to-skin contact, according to a new report published on March 3 Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a publication of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Most of them reported traveling abroad in the 21 days before their symptoms began, and most patients in the MMWR are identified as males who have sex with males,” said Capt. Jennifer McQuiston, associate director of the CDC Division of Pathogens and Serious Consequence Pathology. “In many cases, their rash started in the genital area.”

No deaths have been reported in the United States or other countries affected by monkeypox outbreaks, McQuiston said during a Friday news conference.

“Nevertheless, we don’t want to minimize this condition,” added McQuiston. “The rash caused by the monkeypox virus can spread widely across the body or appear in sensitive areas like the genitals. It can be very painful, and some patients have reported needing prescription pain relievers to relieve this pain. The wounds can also appear long-term scars on the skin.”

According to the CDC, four cases each have been reported in California and New York, three in Florida, two in Colorado and Utah, and one each in Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Washington state.

The new MMWR The report documents the monkeypox outbreak through the end of May and provides more information on the 17 cases identified by then.

According to the report, by the end of May, 16 of the 17 cases were adult gay men. The other person is a straight woman, McQuiston said.

The monkeypox rash began in four cases in the genital area and in five cases in the anal area MMWR report found. In five cases, oral rash eventually developed.

Of the 17 cases, 14 patients reported international travel to 11 different countries in the 21 days prior to symptom onset.

Genetic sequencing has shown that two genetically distinct variants of monkeypox are involved in the current outbreak, McQuiston said, but both are descended from the West African tribe “which is less severe than other known clades … which means that in historical outbreaks in Africa has led to fewer deaths.

“Currently, all patients are recovering or have recovered, and those who still have a rash are advised to stay home and keep away from other people until they have fully recovered,” McQuiston said. “That means when all the wounds are crusted over, the scabs fall off and new healthy skin is formed.”

Although the outbreak has so far focused on gay and bisexual men, McQuiston noted that the main risk factor for contracting monkeypox is close contact with an infected person with sores.

“Anyone can contract monkeypox, and we are carefully monitoring this and the spread of monkeypox in every demographic, including those who do not identify as men who have sex with men,” McQuiston said.

Contact tracing among the known US cases has identified 56 high-risk contacts, 117 medium-risk contacts, and 235 low-risk or unknown-risk contacts MMWR report said.

There are two vaccines approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and an antiviral drug that the federal government is making available to states to treat and prevent monkeypox, said Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and human services.

The vaccines are primarily available to prevent the virus from spreading, said Dr. Raj Panjabi, White House senior director for global health security and biodefense.

“We want to ensure that people at high risk can have access to vaccines quickly and can receive appropriate treatment if they become ill,” Panjabi said during Friday’s briefing.

About 1,200 vaccines and 100 antiviral treatment courses have been shipped to eight jurisdictions in the United States, Panjabi said.

More information

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the monkeypox outbreak.

SWELL: Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, June 3, 2022; June 3, 2022, media briefing featuring: Jennifer McQuiston, DVM, Associate Director, CDC Division of Pathogens and Serious Consequence Pathology; Dawn O’Connell, Assistant Secretary, Preparedness and Response, US Department of Health and Human Services; Raj Panjabi, MD, White House senior director, global health security and biodefense

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