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More than 700 monkeypox cases detected globally - CDC

In Ireland, health authorities have confirmed six cases so far.

THE US CENTERS for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said it is aware of more than 700 global cases of monkeypox.

Of the 21 cases recorded in the United States, all patients are in recovery or have recovered, and no cases have been fatal. 

Sixteen of the first 17 cases were among people who identify as men who have sex with men, according to a new CDC report, and 14 were thought to be travel associated.

“There have also been some cases in the United States that we know are linked to known cases,” Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the CDC’s Division of High Consequence Pathogens and Pathology, told reporters on a call.

“We also have at least one case in the United States that does not have a travel link or know how they acquired their infection.”

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is related to but less severe than smallpox, causing a rash that spreads, fever, chills, and aches, among other symptoms.

Generally confined to western and central Africa, cases have been reported in Europe since May and the number of countries affected has grown since.

Though its new spread may be linked to particular festivals in Europe, it is not thought to be a sexually transmitted disease, with the main risk factor being close skin-to-skin contact with someone who has monkeypox sores.

A person is contagious until all the sores have scabbed and new skin is formed.

In Ireland, health authorities confirmed an additional two cases yesterday, bringing the total number of cases here to six. 

The Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) said the new cases were “not unexpected” in the context of cases in other countries. 

There are currently two authorized vaccines: ACAM2000 and JYNNEOS, which were originally developed against smallpox. 

JYNNEOS is the more modern of the two, with fewer side effects.

The CDC has also authorized two antivirals used to treat smallpox, TPOXX and Cidofovir, to be repurposed to treat monkeypox.

“Anyone can get monkeypox and we are carefully monitoring for monkeypox that may be spreading in any population, including those who are not identifying as men who have sex with men,” said McQuiston.

That being said, the CDC is undertaking special outreach in the LGBT community, she added.

A suspected case “should be anyone with a new characteristic rash,” or who meet the criteria for high suspicion such as relevant travel, close contact, or being a man who has sex with men.

© AFP 2022

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