SAN FRANCISCO (KRON) — There are now over 10,000 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States, according to the latest numbers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention late Wednesday.
The U.S. leads the world in known cases, which have been reported in 49 states (Wyoming has no reported cases) and the District of Columbia.
Twelve deaths have been reported worldwide from the 2022 outbreak, though none in the U.S.
New York State has the most reported cases (2,132), followed by California (1,892). The city and county of San Francisco has over a quarter of the Golden State’s reported cases (514), though this number still puts it behind Los Angeles County (706) for the California county with the most reported cases.
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CDC statistics released Aug. 6 show that the overwhelming majority of reported cases (94%) are in men who have sex with men, and of those for whose sexual history was reported to the CDC, most reported multiple partners in the weeks before infection.
Fifty U.S. cases involve people who were female at birth, according to CDC statistics.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
Symptoms of monkeypox include the onset of flu-like symptoms and distinctive rashes or sores that could look like pimples or blisters. CDC statistics show the most commonly reported symptoms are rash (99%), malaise (70%) and fever (64%).
The CDC stated that the most common places where rashes have been reported in this outbreak are genitals (46% of cases), arms (40%), face (38%) and legs (37%).
While the red, flat spots that become bumps in the current outbreak can be anywhere on the body, they are most likely to affect the genital or rectal areas, or the fingers, mouth or eyes. The spots become bumps, which break and crust over into a scab. They may be itchy, but not necessarily.
Further, some people only get one or some of these symptoms; it is possible to have a fever without a rash or have these symptoms sequentially and not concurrently.
What is the monkeypox vaccine?
The monkeypox virus is in the orthopoxvirus family alongside smallpox, for which routine vaccination in the U.S. ended in 1972 after the disease was declared eradicated. Jynneos, a vaccine approved for both smallpox and monkeypox, is at least 85% effective against monkeypox, though its effectiveness reduces over time.
Getting the vaccine within 14 days of exposure can prevent or mitigate disease risk, as the incubation period can be weeks.
Healthcare providers should test for other infections with similar symptoms, such as syphilis. Tests for monkeypox are confirmed at specialized labs.
Side effects of the vaccine could include redness, pain or swelling at the injection site, muscle pain, headache, fatigue and nausea.
Who can get a monkeypox infection?
According to the CDC, 99% of cases were in men, and 94% of cases were in men who reported having sex with men. Among those cases, the majority had reported multiple sexual partners in the prior three weeks.
A total of 50 U.S. cases have been reported in women, according to the CDC, and five pediatric cases have been confirmed.
The virus is spread through close skin-on-skin contact, but an adviser on sexually transmitted infections with the World Health Organization stated that experts have not determined whether it is a sexually transmitted infection per se, though it is “clearly transmitted during sex.”
However, Noel Sanchez, of the San Francisco Department of Public Health, cautioned that anyone could become infected with the monkeypox virus and that it doesn’t necessarily require sexual contact to contract it.
“SFDPH takes monkeypox seriously,” Sanchez stated. “While most cases resolve on their own without pills or treatment, monkeypox can be serious. We are trying to contain outbreaks and reduce transmission to avoid the virus spreading to more people and potentially becoming endemic. To that end, we are doing education and outreach to communities most at risk; tracking monkeypox cases; distributing and administering vaccines as a preventative measure to people at high risk because of an exposure, and supporting testing and clinical guidance to providers, among other efforts.”
Sanchez advises people to cover exposed skin in crowds, avoid sharing bedding and clothing, talk with close physical and sexual contacts about health, rashes and sores, and be aware of symptoms.