The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have identified nine cases of monkeypox in seven states. States include California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia, and Washington.
All of the cases “involve gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” the CDC director said. Rochelle Walenski told reporters during a press briefing Thursday, May 26. Several cases have been linked to people who have recently traveled to areas with active outbreaks of monkeypox, but Walenksy noted that “others don’t.”
“It’s a community that has strength and has demonstrated the ability to meet health challenges with a focus on compassion and science,” Walensky said. “While certain groups may have a greater chance of exposure at this time, infectious diseases do not care about national or international borders. They are not contained in social networks, and the risk of exposure is not not limited to any particular group.
The global epidemic, which includes 237 suspected and confirmed cases in 19 countrieshas baffled health experts as the virus is usually only found in West and Central Africa or is linked to people who have recently traveled to that part of the world.
Despite the high number of cases and community spread, health officials do not believe the outbreak will become a global pandemic.
“We are working hard to contain the cases that are happening, so they don’t spread,” Jennifer McQuistondeputy director of the CDC’s Pathogens and High-Consequence Pathologies Division, said.
“We continue to monitor what is happening and consider whether broader vaccination recommendations would make sense, but at this time we only have nine known cases,” McQuiston added. “We have contacts that we have identified associated with these cases who would likely benefit the most from the vaccine, and so that is where we are focusing our energies at this time.”
More cases of monkeypox are mild and begin with fever, headaches, muscle aches, swelling and back pain. A few days after having a fever, patients will develop a rash and sores on their hands and feet.
The infection usually goes away on its own within a month. There is no known cure for monkeypox, although the smallpox vaccine appears to offer some protection against viral infection.