- A monkeypox outbreak has increased in the past two months with more than 4,100 confirmed cases worldwide.
- The cases of monkeypox in the US are more than 200 cases in 25 states, including California, Florida, New York and Texas.
- Health officials have started vaccinations for those at risk. New York City opened a vaccine clinic last week.
Monkeypox cases are on the rise in the US, and as health officials claim the threat to the general population is low, efforts have begun to vaccinate those at risk.
The disease, which is caused by a virus and was first diagnosed in humans in 1970, according to the World Health Organization, has mostly been seen in parts of Central and West Africa. Scientists think it occasionally jumped from animals, probably rodents, to humans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of May 2022, more than 4,100 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported — and one death — in 47 countries in Europe and South America.
In the US, more than 200 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 25 states since Friday, the CDC says. States reporting cases include California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
Roe v. Wade destroyed:Live updates as the battle for abortion rights shifts to states
Legislative proposal on arms reform:A month after the Uvalde massacre, Biden signs the most important measure in nearly 30 years
Earlier this week, the Biden administration began shipping monkeypox tests to commercial labs including Aegis Science, Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics to expand testing capabilities.
The illness, which is rare, usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including fever that precedes muscle aches, chills, and fatigue. It can develop into a rash, often on the face and genitals.
Monkeypox can spread through personal contact with the rash, scabs, or bodily fluids — and touching items such as clothing or bedding that an infected person has used.
Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the disease kills up to 1 in 10 people, the WHO says.
Who Needs a Monkeypox Vaccine?
Those most at risk for monkeypox in this outbreak are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, health officials say.
In the UK, where Britain has the largest monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa, vaccines are now being considered for those at highest risk: men who have sex with men and who have multiple partners, participate in group sex or visit locations where sex takes place on the terrain. A survey of those infected in the UK found that 96% were men who were gay, bisexual or had sex with other men.
The CDC also recommends vaccinations for lab and medical personnel — and all other people — who may be exposed to monkeypox.
What is the Jynneos Vaccine?
The Jynneos vaccine, approved in 2019 by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of smallpox and monkeypox in people 18 years and older, requires two doses, four weeks apart. The CDC is also investigating a measure to allow the vaccine to be used in children.
The Jynneos vaccine is considered safer than alternatives because it is made from a virus that is related to smallpox and monkeypox, but is less harmful. Research leading to approval found that Jynneos created an immune response similar to that of the smallpox vaccine. Research data suggests the vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
However, it remains unknown how well the vaccine protects people from getting monkey pox. Research in the Democratic Republic of the Congo found that none of the 1,600 vaccinated health workers developed monkeypox over the course of two years, Science magazine reported. However, the study did not include a control group and one subject did develop monkey pox after the study period.
The Department of Health and Human Services, within its strategic national stockpile, has more than 36,000 Jynneos courses and expects to get about 500,000 more courses this year, according to the CDC.
“The truth is, we don’t know the efficacy of these monkeypox vaccines,” Ira Longini, a biostatistician at the University of Florida who advises the WHO, told Science.
What is everyone talking about? Sign up for our trending newsletter to receive the latest news of the day
Does the smallpox vaccine protect against monkeypox?
The US has 100 million doses of the smallpox vaccine ACAM2000, the CDC says. Research from Africa suggests the vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox, the agency says.
However, the vaccine, which is given through multiple punctures from a bifurcated or bifurcated needle rather than an injection, may have some side effects, according to the FDA, including the inflammation and swelling of the heart and surrounding tissue, inflammation of the brain (encephalitis). and the spread of the virus to the rest of the body or to others they come into contact with.
The vaccine is not made from the smallpox virus, but from a smallpox virus similar to smallpox.
New York City Offers Monkey Pox Vaccines, Are There Other States?
New York City’s health department and hospitals have administered vaccines to those who suspect they have come into contact with someone with monkey pox. The department opened a vaccine clinic last week that can accommodate all gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who have had multiple or anonymous sex partners in the past two weeks.
Other states and local agencies are also working with the CDC on vaccinations, the agency says.
The California Department of Health has requested and received vaccines from its stock to protect against monkeypox, the agency told USA TODAY in a statement.
52 cases have been reported in five counties in the state, the agency said. “There have been cases mainly among gay, bisexual and other men and transgender people who have sex with men,” the statement said. “Monkeypox is transmitted through close and intimate physical contact. While the risk to the general public is very low, it is important to remember that anyone who has such contact with an infected person can get monkey pox. People with an unusual rash or skin lesion should contact their healthcare provider for an assessment.”
The CDC recommends contacting your health care provider if you have monkeypox symptoms, even if you don’t think you’ve had contact with someone who has the disease.
Is there a treatment for monkey pox?
Those who get monkey pox usually develop painful and itchy lesions, which eventually become scabs and fall off. Those infected start showing symptoms seven to 14 days after exposure and can remain contagious for several weeks.
The monkeypox and smallpox vaccines, when given within four days of the exposure date, can prevent the onset of disease — and possibly reduce symptoms if given up to two weeks after exposure — according to the CDC.
However, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, there is currently no proven treatment for monkeypox. But there are several antiviral medications used to treat smallpox and other conditions that can help patients with monkeypox infection.
Developed to treat smallpox, the antiviral drug Tecovirimat has been approved for emergency treatment of viruses such as monkeypox.
An antibody drug, Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (VIGIV), designed to treat side effects of smallpox vaccinations, and another antiviral drug Cidofovir, used to treat eye infections in AIDS patients, are also available for emergency treatment of monkeypox and similar viruses. Another antiviral drug, Brincidofovir, could potentially be used to treat the disease, and research into additional treatments and vaccines continues.
Contributors: Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY; The Associated Press
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider†