The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised concerns about the continuing monkeypox epidemic after the nation’s incidence reached 30 and the global number exceeded 1,000.
The CDC now advises passengers to “practice enhanced precautions” to avoid contamination and the spread of rare viral disease, is indicated on the website of the agency (opens in a new section). The CDC says humans should avoid close contact with sick people, including those with skin or genital rashes, and with dead or live wildlife, especially rodents such as rats and squirrels, and non-human primates, meaning monkeys and monkeys.
Travelers should also avoid contact with contaminated materials used by sick people, such as clothing and bedding, or materials that have come into contact with infected animals. They should also avoid eating or cooking wild game meat.
“If you are sick and may have monkeypox, postpone the trip by public transport until you get permission from a medical professional or public health official,” the CDC said.
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The overall risk of contracting monkeypox is still low for the general public, but the CDC advises people to seek medical attention immediately if they develop new, unexplained skin rashes all over their body. These rashes usually go through several stages, initially appearing as discolored spots on the skin, then raised bumps, then blisters, and finally large, pus-filled pimples. These skin lesions eventually form and fall off. Other symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC.
Avoid contact with other people if you suspect you may have monkeypox, the CDC said. If possible, call in advance before going to a health facility, or inform staff on arrival that you think you may have monkeypox. Tell your doctor if you have recently had contact with someone with a confirmed or potential monkeypox infection, or if you have recently traveled to a country where the virus is circulating regularly or has recently been found.
As of Monday (June 6th), a total of 1,019 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported in 29 countries where the virus is not normally spread, According to the CDC (opens in a new section). The United Kingdom has reported the most cases to date – 302, followed by Spain, Portugal, Canada and Germany.
The 30 cases found in the United States affected people in California, Colorado, Washington, D.C., Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington. announced the CDC (opens in a new section).
As reported in Europe, a large proportion of cases in the United States involve men who have sex with men, according to Weekly report on morbidity and mortality (opens in a new section) (MMWR) released on June 3. Smallpox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease and is less likely to affect one population than another. However, the virus is spread by contact with contaminated body fluids and wounds on infected people, and at least some of the cases among men who have sex with men are suspected to be related to raves which recently took place in Europe, Live Science reported earlier.
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“The CDC calls on health care providers in the United States to be vigilant for patients with avian-related rash, regardless of the patient’s gender or sexual orientation or history of international travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox.” in the MMWR report.
Many people who catch monkeypox develop a mild illness that goes away in about two to three weeks, but some groups are at risk for a serious illness. According to the CDC (opens in a new section). These groups include people with disabilities immune systems; children up to 8 years old; pregnant and lactating people; and people with pre-existing infections or other conditions that may increase the risk of severe infection.
There are no specifically approved treatments for monkeypox, but several antivirals and off-label antibody treatments are sometimes used to treat the infection. People who have recently been exposed to the virus can also receive one of two vaccines – ACAM200 or JYNNEOS – to reduce the severity of symptoms or to prevent infection in general, The CDC said (opens in a new section). “The CDC recommends that the vaccine be given within 4 days of the date of exposure to prevent the onset of the disease,” the agency’s website said. “If administered between 4-14 days after the date of exposure, vaccination may reduce the symptoms of the disease, but may not prevent the disease.”
ACAM200 has been approved as a smallpox vaccine, but could be used for monkeypox under the “extended access to investigate new drugs”, CDC officials told a news briefing on Friday (June 3rd). JYNNEOS is approved for both monkeypox and smallpox.
“We have more than enough vaccine available for the current epidemic,” said Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary of readiness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, on Friday.
Originally published in Live Science.