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Described by: Monkeypox in the United States: Where could it spread next?

Described by: Monkeypox in the United States: Where could it spread next?


A person arrives to be vaccinated against monkeypox at the Northwell Health Emergency Medical Center in Cherry Grove, Fire Island, New York, USA, July 15, 2022. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz/File Photo

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CHICAGO (Reuters) – The United States declared monkeypox a public health emergency last week. This is an effort to strengthen the US response to contain the outbreak.

The virus continues to infect mostly gay and bisexual men, but experts say the disease could spread to other populations, especially due to vaccine shortages. , spread by contact with pus-filled wounds and is rarely fatal.

The current monkeypox status and some other populations that US experts believe may be at risk include:

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Who has monkeypox?

Last month, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global public health emergency. So far, 26,500 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 80 virus-free countries, according to a Reuters tally. read more

According to a technical report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in the United States, as of July 25, 99.1% of US monkeypox cases occurred in people assigned the male gender at birth. Among male patients, 99% reported having sexual contact with other men.

Approximately 38% of cases occurred in Caucasian, non-Hispanic men. Another 26% were black men and 32% were Hispanic men.

The pattern of sexual transmission in men is atypical. Monkeypox has been endemic in Africa since the 1970s, and 60% of his cases are male and 40% are female. read more

Celine Gownder, Ph.D., infectious disease epidemiologist and editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, said the reason is that the virus appears to be “transmitted very efficiently through anal receptive intercourse and some degree of oral sex.” He said it could be one.

Who else is at risk?

Although the current spike in cases is occurring in men, experts say there is no biological reason why the virus remains largely within communities of men who have sex with men.

“It certainly spreads to family members and non-male partners,” said Dr. Jay Varma, director of the Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response at Cornell University. He also said the virus could spread through massage parlors and spas.

The real question, he says, is whether it spreads as efficiently in these groups as it does among intimate sexual networks of men who have sex with men.

Experts point to how HIV spreads as a possible indicator of where the virus will go next.

“My biggest fear is that if we try to contain this, it will permeate along the sociogeographic cracks and go where HIV was, and it will find its way into rural Southern communities of color. It’s a matter of getting rid of it.” He is an associate professor of epidemiology at Yale University and a leading HIV/AIDS activist.

These are places with limited infrastructure for testing, vaccines and treatments.

Gownder is particularly concerned about infection among black women, who account for the largest proportion of new HIV infections in the United States, and who are already experiencing significantly higher maternal morbidity and mortality.

Who else could be at risk?

Other risky environments include college dormitories, fitness clubs, and sports teams.

Gounder is aware of several sports leagues that are prepared for potential transmission, noting that sports such as wrestling involve close skin-to-skin contact.

According to the CDC, wrestling, football, rugby and other sports teams have previously been hit with superbug MRSA.

“I think that’s something we need to think about and be prepared for,” she said.

Employers may also need to start preparing. For example, some theaters in New York are looking at ways to protect employees from possible monkeypox infections through contact with shared costumes, he said.

“We’re just getting started on it, but it’s encouraging that people are already thinking about it.”

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Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen.Editing by Caroline Humer and Josie Kao

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.




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