Monkeypox: Most US cases are related to travel, but the CDC monitors community transmission

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — More than 700 cases of monkeypox are currently under investigation worldwide.

Identified cases in the US have doubled in the past week, and officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have since updated the nation with the latest developments.

Officials are reporting 20 domestic cases in 11 states, including four in California and one suspected case identified so far in Los Angeles County.

Most of the 20 US patients believed to be infected with monkeypox reported being men who have sex with men.

Most have traveled internationally in the last 21 days.

In the meantime, the CDC wants to raise awareness in LGBTQ+ communities, but researchers stress that this is not a “gay disease.”

“Anyone can get monkeypox, and we are carefully monitoring for monkeypox, which could spread to any population, including those who do not identify as males who have sex with males,” said Capt. Jennifer McQuiston of the CDC’s Pathogens Division Pathology with serious consequences.

Officials said the threat to the public remains low and no one has died from monkeypox and all patients are recovering.

However, scientists say the disease should not be taken lightly.

“It can be very painful, and some patients have reported needing prescription pain medication to relieve that pain. The sores can also cause long-term scarring on the skin,” McQuiston said.

The main risk factor for monkeypox is close contact with someone who already has it.

Patients with sores are advised to self-quarantine until the scab has healed.

Scientists note that many of the rashes don’t appear large or raised at first.

“I think especially in an early presentation it can be confusing to know what that might be,” she said.

Researchers discovered that two different variants of monkeypox are in circulation.

The one we see in Europe and the US is a milder strain.

When asked if monkeypox had already spread beyond the containment point, officials said teams were “working very hard to contain it.”

“I think it’s too early to know if monkeypox can become endemic, but I think it’s important to remember that monkeypox has been endemic in several countries for decades,” McQuiston said.

Between vaccine manufacturers and the national stockpile, the CDC said the US has enough vaccines and treatments to cover this current outbreak.

About 1,200 vaccines and 100 rounds of therapeutics have been shipped to various states so far.

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Laura Coffey

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