The CDC has identified nine cases of smallpox in seven states as of Wednesday, director Rochelle Walensky said Thursday.
Cases have been identified in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York.
Most cases “are within the gays [and] bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, “she said. Virginia announced Thursday that the case in her state is a woman.
“This is a community that has the strength and has demonstrated the ability to address the challenges of their health by focusing on compassion and science,” he said in an apparent reference to the AIDS epidemic.
“While some groups may be more likely to be exposed right now, infectious diseases do not care about state or international borders. They are not contained on social media and the risk of exposure is not limited to any particular group.” , he said. warned.
Walensky urged Americans “to approach this outbreak without stigma and without discrimination.”
“We shouldn’t be surprised to see more cases”
The CDC is working to learn more about the outbreak: samples of the nine identified cases were sent to the agency for additional confirmatory testing and genomic research, Walensky said, and efforts are being made to find out how each person contracted the outbreak. virus.
Some of the nine cases have a recent history of international travel to areas with active outbreaks of smallpox, he said, but others do not.
Officials expect more cases to be diagnosed, as the CDC has urged doctors and Americans to be on the lookout for symptoms.
“We shouldn’t be surprised to see more cases reported in the United States in the coming days. It’s actually a sign that Americans are being vigilant and that health care providers and public health workers are doing his job, “said Dr. Raj Panjabi. Senior Director of Health Security and Biodefense of the White House.
As part of this outbreak, the CDC has been monitoring multiple groups of monkeypox that have been reported in early and mid-May in several countries that do not normally report these infections, including regions of Europe. and North America.
Smallpox is rare in the United States and the virus does not occur naturally in the country, according to the CDC. After the virus spreads from animal to human, human-to-human transmission can occur through close direct contact, such as large respiratory drops or skin lesions.
Symptoms of monkeypox can include fever, headache, muscle aches, and swollen lymph nodes. A feature of the disease is that it can cause injuries or pustules and a rash on the body, including the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.
The United States plans to move the vaccine to the states that need it most
The United States has mobilized the smallpox vaccine vaccine in states that have reported cases and plan to move the vaccine where it may be needed, Walensky said Thursday.
“The United States has the resources we need to help us respond to the monkeypox in this country right now. We have been preparing for this type of outbreak for decades,” he said.
The U.S. has two preventative vaccines and two antiviral treatments that can be used for orthopox, the family of viruses that includes monkeypox.
“One such vaccine, under the trade name Jynneos, is approved for the prevention of monkeypox in adults 18 years of age and older,” Walensky said. “The CDC has mechanisms to move these products across the country so that they can be used to prevent or treat people who may benefit from them, wherever they may be.”
Panjabi said vaccination against monkeypox has been offered to health workers in Massachusetts, where the first U.S. case was identified in the outbreak last week.
“In Massachusetts, they got it as a Jynneos vaccine starting Sunday, and we offer it to health care providers who have been exposed to high-risk exposure or are eligible under state and CDC guidelines.” , said Panjabi.
CDC officials recommend vaccination for people most at risk of infection due to direct contact with someone who has monkeypox.
“Right now, while we are in the early stages of investigating this, we know that those most at risk of infection are those who had contact with a known monkeypox patient, with the type of contact that would facilitate the spread. “So these are the individuals. We’re really focusing on recommending vaccination for now: post-exposure vaccination,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the Division of Pathogens and Highly Impaired Pathology of the United States. CDC.
“We continue to look at what’s going on and think about whether the broader vaccination recommendations would make sense, but right now we only have nine known cases and we have contacts that we’ve identified associated with those cases that are likely to benefit most from vaccines,” McQuiston said. “And that’s where we’re focusing our energies right now.”