MONKEYPOX has been declared a public health emergency as of Thursday, August 4, and cases are on the rise across the US.
More than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox have been found in the US since the first case was discovered in mid-May.
All states have reported a number of cases, except for Montana and Wyoming, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The states with the most cases currently are New York (1,862), California (826), and Florida (633).
Meanwhile, the states with the least cases include Kansas (1), Alaska (2), and Maine (2).
Symptoms of monkeypox appear five to 21 days after exposure. Monkeypox symptoms first resemble flu symptoms, but eventually, a rash breaks out, starting on your face, per the CDC.
Follow our Monkeypox live blog for news and updates…
Is monkeypox fatal?
Amid the outbreak many are concerned about the fatality rate of monkeypox.
Hopkins medicine states that the death rate ranges from 1-10 percent based on data from African countries.
The current outbreak is on the low end of the death rate.
Other treatments to monkeypox
According to Hopkins Medicine, majority of cases can resolve on their own or with antiviral agents.
The CDC suggests that anyone with a severe case, immunocompromised patients, and anyone under the age of eight years old should consult a doctor for antiviral treatment.
Many antivirals are being tested but currently there is no treatment for monkeypox.
Those who are prescribed medication must take treatments intended for smallpox, which is still likely to show positive results.
What is TPOXX?
TPOXX is an antivrial treatment for monkeypox that can alleviate pain of the lesions caused by the virus.
However, they are extremely difficult to obtain, monkeypox survivor Luke Brown told NBC News.
The drug is regulated by the United Kingdom and the European Union, therefore it is not approved by the Food and Drug Admnistration making it difficult for Americans to get them.
Vaccine supply strategies
The Food and Drug Administration announced a new monkeypox vaccine response leading in a potential fivefold increase, ABC News reports.
The reponse would include give a smaller injection closer to the first layer of skin.
Experts say this would lead to more vaccinations and is still effective in preventing the virus, but still neeeds clinical trials to confirm whether it will work.
Sexual health clinics are struggling
CNBC reports that physicians are struggling to keep up with the influx of patients in need of monkeypox treatment and vaccines.
Many medical professionals have previously expressed the lack of funding for sexual health clinics.
Even though monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, sexual health clinics are still on the front lines by identifying the disease and helping with treatment in many cases.
First monkeypox case confirmed in Montana
So far, monkeypox has been confirmed in major US cities, but it has now moved to rural areas as well.
State officials in Montana have reported their first confirmed case, according to Montana Public Radio.
Montana is one of the last states to report a monkeypox case, making the outbreak even more nationwide.
Colleges are bracing for monkeypox impact, part two
The ACHA, an organization representing over 700 college institutions is putting together a plan with the CDC to schedule a webinar for universities.
Rachel Mack, the director of communications told NPR, “All of this is in the early stages and we’re right now assembling a team of experts to help finalize the topics that are of primary importance.”
Colleges will be expected to supply resources for students to combat monkeypox, including quarantine accommodations and extra sanitation measures.
Colleges are bracing for monkeypox impact
Due to the crowds and mass amounts of people that attend a single university, colleges are tasked with formulating a plan to deal with monkeypox.
Dr. Jay Varma told NPR that the places on campuses where students will be most likely to contract the virus are locker rooms, gyms, or even theater groups.
So far Georgetown University, the University of Texas at Austin, and West Chester University have all reported at least one confirmed case over the summer.
Lessons from the HIV/AIDS epidemic
Monkeypox has disproportionately impacted the LGBTQ+ community which has resulted in discrimination and stigmatization from the general public.
This is similar to the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, according to a CNN article.
Lala Tanmoy and Eric Kutscher, both MD’s have been advocating for better education to help decrease the stigma around monkeypox within the medical community.
The stigma around monkeypox
A CNN investigation has revealed that the stigma around monkeypox has grown even within the medical community.
The investigation found that some phlebotomists in the US have been refusing to draw blood from patients with suspected monkeypox, denying them essential care.
It is not confirmed that these medical professionals are denying gay men bloodwork as a direct result of the monkeypox virus, but it is clear many men are being denied care.
Massachusetts is changing vaccine strategy
NBC10 Boston has reported that vaccine providers in Massachusetts are shifting their strategy to administer more vaccinations.
The Department of Health will move to a first-dose prioritization strategy to maximize vaccinations.
Even though monkeypox is a two-dose vaccine, this strategy will help to get more individuals vaccinated.
‘I’m just tired’
After a tumultuous few years with Covid-19, inflation, and now monkeypox, young people are “tired” of having to live this way.
One Twitter user took to the platform to express their feelings on the matter, writing: “I’m just tired. My 20s being consumed by COVID, monkeypox, inflation, a recession really, and who knows what else to come.
“I’m tired of having to suppress all of this to push forward. You try to make the best out of it but can only do so much.”
Public health emergency
Due to an increase in cases across the US, the Biden administration on Thursday deemed monkeypox a public health emergency.
The administration has at times come under fire for how it has handled the monkeypox outbreak, and some have demanded that it swiftly declare a national emergency, CNN reports.
More than 6,600 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox have been found in the US since the first case was discovered in mid-May. Except for Montana and Wyoming, every state has reported cases.
More on the symptoms
One to three days into the illness, an itchy, occasionally painful rash gradually develops, first appearing on the face, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet.
The unpleasant rash can also damage the lining of the eyes, mouth, and genitalia. Blindness may result from the rash getting into the eyes.
According to the WHO, some people may only have a few lesions while others may have thousands.
Severe instances are correlated with age, the degree of viral exposure, the patient’s health, and the severity of sequelae, with symptoms, often lasting 14 to 21 days.
The general population and medical professionals have been admonished to watch out for odd rashes.
Know the symptoms
Symptoms of monkeypox appear five to 21 days after exposure.
Monkeypox symptoms first resemble flu symptoms. But soon, starting on the face, a rash appears.
Preliminary symptoms include:
- muscle aches
- swollen lymph nodes
Monkeypox affecting Black and Hispanic people disproportionately
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a thorough review of monkeypox case data on Friday, providing fresh information on the outbreak, which disproportionately affects males who have sex with men, especially those who are Black and Hispanic.
For 41 percent of the cases, the CDC received case report forms with additional epidemiologic and clinical data; however, not all of those forms had complete information.
In the situations for which data were available, 94 percent of the males involved had recently had intimate or sexual contact with another man.
A group that makes up nearly a third (34 percent) of the overall US population, Black and Hispanic persons, accounted for more than half (54 percent) of the instances. According to the CDC data, the percentage of cases among Black people has increased recently.
Only treatment for monkeypox is scarce
Single a small portion of the almost 7,000 Americans who have monkeypox have received treatment since the only medication that can be used to cure it is so difficult to get, the New York Times reported.
Health authorities have classified tecovirimat, also known as Tpoxx, as an “investigational drug,” which, according to them, prevents its release from the strategic national stockpile without a number of complicated administrative procedures.
However, the majority of doctors do not have the time or resources to complete the lengthy 27-page application or to give specific patient data.
False claims made by meme
The meme that began to spread misinformation about monkeypox included the following claims:
- “CDC has now classified this disease as airborne and anybody within 15 ft can catch it”
- “This disease is now classified as a form of herpes”
- “The illness typically last[s] 2-4 months. If you have symptoms avoid going outside”
- “Monkeypox can lead to being paralyzed”
All of these claims were proven to be false by FactCheck.org and the CDC guidelines.
Monkeypox meme spreading misinformation online
When there were 7,102 confirmed cases of monkeypox nationwide on August 4, the United States proclaimed it a public health emergency.
Since the beginning of May, when an outbreak of monkeypox started in nations outside of Central and West Africa, where the illness is common, rumors have proliferated online.
Now, a meme with the BBC logo has been making the rounds online, spreading a number of false claims about the illness, despite the fact that neither the BBC’s websites nor social media accounts have such an image, per FactCheck.org.
Fear spreading amid monkeypox updates
As President Joe Biden has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, people are taking to social media to express their concern.
One user tweeted: “the fact that monkeypox can be spread just by touching someone else’s clothing is insane to me like i actually never wanna go anywhere ever again.”
Reducing your chances of testing positive if sexually active
The greatest defense against monkeypox “is to avoid sex of any kind (oral, anal, vaginal) and kissing or touching each other’s bodies,” the CDC said.
The CDC advises reducing the number of sex partners if you’re sexually active to lessen your risk of coming into contact with monkeypox.
Monkeypox is more prone to spread in places like back rooms, saunas, sex clubs, or private and public sex parties where numerous people engage in close-quarters, frequently anonymous sexual contact, per the agency.
Since the rash can appear on other regions of the body, using condoms alone may not be sufficient to avoid exposure to monkeypox.
CDC advises to limit sexual activity to stop the spread
The CDC said in their guidance that although monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted illness, it is often spread by “close, sustained physical contact, which can include sexual contact.”
According to data released by the CDC on Friday, males who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by infections.
However, according to the World Health Organization, everyone who comes into touch with an infected person near to them is in danger.
Clinics target Black and Latino communities for monkeypox vaccine
Although local health experts recognize that Chicago’s North Side has had disproportionately high access to the monkeypox vaccination, there is still work to be done to spread awareness and the vaccine to other regions of the metropolis, ABC7 reported.
At a clinic hosted by CALOR and Alivio Medical Center for a pop-up clinic at Arturo Velasquez Institute close to Pilsen, there were only 100 appointments for monkeypox immunizations.
The majority of the clients were Latinos, and the organizers feel more has to be done.
“14% of the vaccines have gone to the Latino community, yet the infection rate is somewhere around 38%,” Alivio Medica Center CEO Esther Corpuz said to the outlet. “There’s definitely a disparity in those numbers.”
Illinois daycare center worker test positive for monkeypox
A worker at an Illinois childcare center has tested positive for monkeypox, prompting health officials to recommend screenings for both employees and children, Fox News reported.
The third positive case in Champaign County occurred at a daycare in Rantoul, Illinois, and it prompted medical staff to examine anybody who may have been exposed there.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Director Dr Sameer Vohra said Friday: “An adult at a daycare center in the Rantoul area has tested positive for a case of monkeypox.
“Screenings of children and other staff are taking place now, and no additional cases have been found at this time.”
7,100 monkeypox patients misdiagnosed in the US
Since this outbreak started with a single case in mid-May, more than 7,100 cases of monkeypox have been misdiagnosed in the US, according to Insider.
However, many more patients with monkeypox are not receiving the care and attention they require, according to Dr Graham Walker, an emergency physician in San Francisco, to effectively prevent, identify, and treat this contagious disease.
Walker told the outlet that he treated “several patients” whose diagnoses of monkeypox were “missed” by another medical professional before they arrived in his emergency room in agonizing pain.