CDC Issues New Monkeypox Guidance

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News & Politics
Damir Mujezinovic

Since May, the infectious viral disease monkeypox has spread across Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia North, and South America, with cases being confirmed in dozens of countries.

The number of infections in the United States climbed to 65 this week, and there is evidence of person-to-person disease transmission in multiple states.

In response to this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance.

CDC Monkeypox Guidance

The CDC explained in its release that the death rate of monkeypox is thought to be one percent, but "possibly" higher in immunocompromised individuals.

The first case of the viral disease in the U.S. was diagnosed in a traveler who returned to Massachusetts from Canada last month.

Since then, 65 cases have been recorded in 18 American states and territories.

Monkeypox spreads through close skin-to-skin contact and any person can spread the disease.

However, in this outbreak, "many of the reported cases in the United States are among gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men (MSM)."

Recommendations

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Noting that the overall risk to the American public is "currently low," the CDC said that people who have symptoms associated with monkeypox should contact their healthcare provider.

Symptoms associated with monkeypox include rashes or lesions, blisters, fever, headache, muscle ache, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.

People who have had close contact with anyone experiencing these symptoms should also consider contacting their healthcare provider, according to the CDC.

Clinicians, meanwhile, should "carefully" evaluate patients exhibiting symptoms associated with this disease, the CDC said.

Real Number Of Cases

As reported by Axios, some worry the real number of monkeypox cases in the U.S. is much higher than official data suggests.

David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition for STD Directors, said "the sheer geographic spread of cases means this is a bigger outbreak than we are capturing right now."

"So we are very worried about this; we're worried about a lack of an effective federal response, and we think we need to kick into high gear to deal with this," he added.

Even CDC director Rochelle Walensky acknowledged that the government "must increase testing for those with a characteristic, pimple-like or blister-like rash so we can make swift diagnoses."

Monkeypox Pandemic

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But will monkeypox actually become a pandemic? Public health experts are not sure.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom recently said there is a "real" risk the virus will become established in countries where it is not already endemic.

Senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security Eric Toner, meanwhile, said the world would "really screw things up not to be able to contain this" because effective vaccines already exist.

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