It has been reported in at least 11 states of the USA and over 30 countries beyond Africa.
Two separate outbreaks of monkeypox in the US are slowly spreading, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They cited genetic sequencing. This week there were more than 700 cases worldwide. Many of these cases were spotted among European travelers or contacts to Africa.
During a Friday press briefing, the head of the CDC’s monkeypox response, Jennifer McQuiston, said viral samples collected in the US appeared to have more than one place of origin, suggesting there are multiple distinct outbreaks in the country.
“It’s not clear what all this means, but it’s likely that within the last couple of years, there have been at least two different instances where monkeypox virus spilled over to people in Nigeria, from the animal that maintains it,”She added that the disease was a pathogen “likely began to spread through person-to-person close contact, possibly intimate or sexual contact.”
The latest case cluster included 23 cases of infection that were identified by US officials. This includes one Florida resident, who was first diagnosed in the UK. According to the CDC, there has been at least one confirmed case in New York, Pennsylvania and Utah. To date, there have not been any deaths.
According to the health agency, travel advisory have been issued advising Americans that they should take preventative measures to protect themselves from getting infected. They are advised to wear masks while traveling and to stay away from wild animals or meats. Raj Panjabi, a senior White House official, said that although the World Health Organization (WHO), has recently stated that monkeypox mass vaccinations are not necessary, US officials have delivered approximately 1,200 vaccine doses to eight US states and 100 treatment courses. The government signed a contract in May to acquire millions of vaccines from an European pharmaceutical company.
Nearly 800 cases of the disease have been reported worldwide, with the exception of Africa where it is most prevalent. Following the discovery of four cases, Belgium became the first EU member to place mandatory quarantines on those with the virus.
Monkeypox is a rare disease, but it has been reported in the US. One Texas resident was hospitalized last summer due to the virus after she traveled to West Africa. The WHO reported that more than 70 cases of monkeypox were diagnosed in the US in 2003. It was the first known outbreak outside Africa.
McQuiston noted that two recent cases in the US seem to have been closely associated with the strain last year. While the other three appear more like a European version, McQuiston added.
Initial symptoms may include headaches, muscle and head aches, fever, swelling of lymph nodes and chills. While most infections are manageable, the virus can cause death in small numbers.
EU’s first monkeypox quarantine