How bad can monkeypox get in the Bay Area? Experts weigh the trajectories

More than two months after the first case was identified in the United States, an outbreak of the monkeypox virus continues to spread rapidly across the country and in the Bay Area, mostly among gay and bisexual men, and shows no signs of abating.

Infectious disease experts and local health officials say new cases may continue to grow at a rapid pace for weeks, but the disease will be difficult to eradicate entirely, but the exact trajectory is difficult to predict. How quickly high-risk people can be vaccinated in large numbers, and how much behavioral change can slow transmission in communities where it is most prevalent, will determine how much and how quickly the epidemic can be controlled.

The limited availability of the monkeypox vaccine has fueled fears that the disease could spread further in the LGBTQ community and the general population, but that has yet to happen.

“Looking at the curve of the disease, we’re definitely in a growth phase,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, Solano County Public Health Officer. “I expect we’ll continue to see this rise for a while longer, I just haven’t seen the evidence yet.”

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