Monkeypox Alert Issued By CDC Over New Cases in Major US City

Monkeypox Alert Issued By CDC Over New Cases in Major US City
Mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions (L), and spherical immature virions (R), obtained from a sample of human skin associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak. (Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regner/CDC via AP)

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert for monkeypox (mpox) after multiple cases popped up in Chicago, with even vaccinated individuals found to have been infected.

There is a “potential risk for new mpox cases,” the agency said in its May 15 emergency alert. “This week, CDC and local partners are investigating a cluster of mpox cases in the Chicago area. From April 17 to May 5, 2023, a total of 12 confirmed and one probable case of mpox were reported to the Chicago Department of Public Health. All cases were among symptomatic men. None of the patients have been hospitalized.” Nine out of the 13 cases were identified among men who had received two doses of Jynneos—the licensed vaccine for monkeypox.

According to the CDC, individuals who had previously been vaccinated can still be infected. However, those who have completed the two-dose regimen of Jynneos vaccines “may experience less severe symptoms than those who have not.”

Among confirmed cases, nine were non-Hispanic white men, two were non-Hispanic black men, and two were Asian men. Their ages ranged from 24 to 46 years, with 34 being the median age. Out of the nine cases for which travel history was available, four were found to have recently traveled to places like New York City, New Orleans, and Mexico.

The agency estimates a resurgence of monkeypox to happen in the spring and summer seasons as people gather for festivals and other events.

A global outbreak of monkeypox began in May 2022. As of May 10, 2023, there have been 87,314 cases of monkeypox infections worldwide. In the United States, 30,395 cases and 42 deaths have been reported.

Homosexuals More Susceptible, Preparing For Spring And Summer

According to the CDC, the recent monkeypox outbreak that began in May last year “spread rapidly” across the world, “disproportionately affecting gay and bisexual men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender people.”

Most of the patients who get infected by monkeypox tend to have mild symptoms, the agency said while admitting that some individuals, like those with untreated or advanced HIV infections, can experience “more severe outcomes.”

“To help prevent a renewed outbreak during the spring and summer months, CDC is urging clinicians to be on alert for new cases of mpox and to encourage vaccination for people at risk,” the agency said.

“If mpox is suspected, test even if the patient was previously vaccinated or had mpox. Clinicians should also refamiliarize themselves with mpox symptoms, specimen collection, laboratory testing procedures, and treatment options.”

The CDC is recommending clinicians evaluating suspected monkeypox patients take their “detailed sexual history.”

While performing a physical examination, the clinicians should also conduct a “thorough skin and mucosal (e.g., oral, genital, anal) examination” looking for previously unidentified lesions.

Monkeypox cases in the United States peaked in July and August when there were around 400 daily cases. Since the beginning of 2023, the number of daily cases has largely remained below 10.

Infection and Vaccines

Though monkeypox tends to be rarely fatal, it can have life-altering effects on infected individuals. People can end up blind or severely scarred from blisters.

Symptoms begin with fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, and headaches. Lymph nodes can become swollen and blister-like rashes can appear.

Monkeypox spreads via direct contact with rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids of infected individuals. It can also spread through sexual contact with such people as well as close contact with their respiratory droplets for four or more hours.

According to the CDC, the Jynneos vaccine is effective in preventing monkeypox 95 percent of the time. However, the vaccine’s effectiveness is unknown when it comes to individuals whose immune systems have been compromised.

This is critical since more than 50 percent of monkeypox cases in the United States have been among people identified as HIV positive.

Serious health conditions have been reported among the vaccinated at the rate of 22 per one million individuals. Such conditions include myocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart muscle, and pericarditis, an inflammation of the fluid around the heart.

In the United States, roughly 1.2 million Jynneos vaccines have been administered since the May 2022 outbreak. The CDC estimates that 23 percent of the estimated population at risk for monkeypox have been fully vaccinated.

From The Epoch Times

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