Experts warn US may soon lose control of monkeypox

Experts warn US could soon lose control of monkeypox due to lack of testing and limited access to vaccines

  • Some experts warn that monkeypox could spiral out of control due to mistakes by health officials
  • Testing capacity in America is still limited, even more than a month after the outbreak began in late May
  • Access to vaccines is being improved by officials, but some have still complained about limited supply and lack of information available
  • The US has recorded 460 cases of the tropical virus, although the actual numbers are likely much higher

Some experts warn that gaps in monkeypox vaccine testing and coverage will leave the United States vulnerable to losing control of the tropical virus outbreak.

Public health leaders from the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) and George Washington University (GW) warn that a fractured and failure to respond to the outbreak so far could have dire consequences.

Past experts have warned that the virus has likely been spreading undetected in the US for quite some time, and fears that it could become endemic in the nation aren’t being reined in anytime soon.

As if Friday — the most recently available data — the US recorded 460 cases in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Iowa is believed to have also registered its first case this weekend, although figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have not yet reflected it.

“Where we have fallen behind is streamlining testing, making vaccines available and streamlining access to the best therapies,” David Harvey, executive director of the NCSD, told The Hill.

“All three areas have been bureaucratic and slow, meaning we haven’t been able to contain this outbreak.”

Testing for the virus has so far been a slow and arduous process. When a patient begins to show symptoms of the virus, they are first examined for the orthopox family of viruses.

The lineage includes monkeypox — along with the extinct smallpox virus — and it’s likely anyone who tests positive for it has the tropical infection.

The first American to go public with a monkeypox infection is a gay actor in Los Angeles

The first US monkeypox patient to make public his fight against the tropical virus has criticized health officials for a “weak” job in testing for the virus, leaving many cases undiagnosed.

Matt Ford, a self-employed actor who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City, has spoken out to warn people that the disease “sucks” and that they should take it “seriously.”

He criticized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their poor testing efforts, saying it took officials three days to diagnose his disease, after which he “already knew” what they would say.

Ford revealed his diagnosis to Buzzfeed, saying he contracted the virus after having “skin-to-skin contact” with another patient.

The actor and writer, who describes himself as a “proud openly gay man,” revealed that he initially noticed spots in and around his “underwear zone,” suggesting he had contracted the virus.

Over the next few days, they spread over the rest of his body, including his face, arms, hands and stomach.

In total, he counted 25 pimples and said they started to “fill with pus” and itchy after they appeared. Several – especially in the “sensitive area” – became so sore that he couldn’t sleep at night without taking painkillers.

To confirm a case of monkeypox, samples must be sent to the CDC for testing, where it is then confirmed.

However, testing is slow. Access to this test is also restricted. This makes many experts afraid that things will go unnoticed.

The federal government has taken steps to expand capacity, but access to testing is still relatively limited.

Cases unrelated to international travel or any other case of the virus have also been discovered so far – meaning an undetected spread of the virus is underway.

“We’ve been screaming for a month about how bad the diagnostic situation is for monkeypox,” James Krellenstein, co-founder of Prep4All, told The Hill.

“And that was really an obvious mistake, avoidable, and it’s very clear that this administration has not learned lessons from early Covid.”

The rollout of vaccines in the country has also been intensively studied.

US officials have ordered about 4.4 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine, including another 2.5 million last week.

However, it was a challenge to get the shots in the arms. New York City had its first public vaccine event two weeks ago — ahead of the Big Apple Pride festivities — but demand for the jabs was so high that senior officials had to cancel walk-in appointments within hours.

People waiting at the clinic for the injection told that the barely 1,000 doses available are “ridiculous” in a city of nearly eight million.

Other enthusiastic recipients accused officials of giving “conflicting” information about how to get stabbed.

Some experts are comparing the currently fractured response to monkeypox to that of COVID-19 when it first broke out in March 2020.

“I think we will keep repeating these mistakes because that is our track record. That’s our track record,” said Jon Andrus, a global health professor at GW.

“We’ve had, what, more than five or six waves of Covid, and we seem to be a little bit taken aback each time, … stopping the transmission requires us all to read from the same page. We all have the same road map.’


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