The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has raised the alert level for the ongoing monkeypox outbreak as the case count in the nation has reached 30 and the global case count has risen above. above 1,000.
The CDC now advises travelers to “practice enhanced precautions” to avoid contracting and spreading the rare viral pathology, states the agency’s website (opens in a new tab). The CDC says people should avoid close contact with sick people, including those with rashes on the skin or genitals, and with dead or live wild animals, especially rodents, such as rats and squirrels, and non-human primates, i.e. 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 consuming or preparing game meat.
“If you are sick and may have monkeypox, delay travel on public transportation until you have been cleared by a health care practitioner or public health officials,” the CDC said.
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The overall risk of contracting monkeypox is still low for the general public, but the CDC has advised people to seek immediate medical attention if they develop unexplained new rashes anywhere on the body. These rashes typically progress through several stages, initially looking like discolored patches of skin, then raised bumps, then blisters, and finally large pus-filled pimples. These skin lesions eventually become encrusted and fall off. Other symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, headache, body aches, and swollen lymph nodes, according to the CDC.
Avoid contact with others if you suspect you have monkeypox, the CDC said. If possible, call ahead before going to a health facility or let the staff know 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 circulates regularly or has been recently detected.
As of Monday (June 6), a total of 1,019 confirmed and suspected cases of monkeypox have been reported in 29 countries where the virus does not typically spread. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in a new tab). The UK has reported the most cases so far, with 302, followed by Spain, Portugal, Canada and Germany.
The 30 cases found in the United States have affected people in California, Colorado, Washington, DC, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia, and Washington state, the CDC reported (opens in a new tab).
Similar to cases reported in Europe, a high percentage of cases in the United States have affected men who have sex with men, according to a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (opens in a new tab) (MMWR) released June 3. Monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease and is no more likely to affect one population than another. However, the virus is spread through contact with contaminated body fluids and sores 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, as previously reported by Live Science.
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“The CDC urges health care professionals in the United States to exercise caution in patients who have rash diseases compatible with monkeypox, regardless of the patient’s gender or sexual orientation or history of international travel or specific risk factors for monkeypox, “says the MMWR report.
Many people who contract monkeypox develop a mild disease that resolves in about two to three weeks, but some groups are at risk for serious illness. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (opens in a new tab). These groups include individuals with weakening immune systems; children aged 8 and over; pregnant and lactating people; and people with existing infections or other conditions that can increase the risk of serious infections.
There are no specifically approved treatments for monkeypox, but several antivirals and an off-label antibody treatment are sometimes used to treat the infection. People who have recently been exposed to the virus may also be given one of two vaccines – ACAM200 or JYNNEOS – to reduce the severity of their symptoms or prevent infection altogether. the CDC said (opens in a new tab). “The CDC recommends administering the vaccine within 4 days of the date of exposure in order to prevent the onset of the disease,” the agency’s website said. “If given between 4 and 14 days after the exposure date, vaccination can reduce the symptoms of the disease, but it may not prevent it.”
ACAM200 is approved as a vaccine for smallpox, but can be used for monkeypox as part of an “Expanded Access Experimental Drug Protocol,” CDC officials said at a press conference on Friday (June 3). ). JYNNEOS is approved for both monkeypox and smallpox.
“We have more than enough vaccine available for the current outbreak,” said Dawn O’Connell, the assistant secretary for preparedness and response within the US Department of Health and Human Services, on Friday.
Originally published in Live Science.