In the United States, the number of smallpox cases has doubled in the past week to 20, according to the CDC

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the United States has identified 20 confirmed or suspected cases of smallpox in 11 states as public health authorities stepped up testing to isolate patients and prevent the spread of the virus in communities.

CDC official Dr. According to Jennifer McQueiston, the public health risk remains low. Most patients in the U.S. have traveled internationally and contracted the virus while abroad, but the virus could spread within the country, McQueen said.

“There can be infectious diseases at the community level, so we really want to step up our surveillance efforts,” McQuiston told reporters on Friday. “We really want to encourage doctors to check if they see rashes and fear that the monkey may get smallpox,” he said.

However, there seems to be a greater risk for gay and bisexual men at the moment. Of the 17 patients who provided the CDC with detailed demographics, 16 identified themselves as having sex with men, McQueen said. Anyone can catch monkeys through close physical contact, and the CDC closely monitors cases in all groups in the U.S. However, public health authorities are working to raise awareness in the LGBTQ community, McConnell said.

“Our priority is to help everyone make informed decisions based on science to protect their health and the health of their communities,” he said.

There were no reports of monkey deaths during the current epidemic in the United States or Europe, McQueen said. All patients are recovering or have recovered, he said. According to the CDC, the West African strain of smallpox is behind the current epidemic, which is less severe than any other strain called the Congo Basin.

According to the CDC, fourteen of the 17 patients who provided demographic data traveled internationally to 11 other countries in the 21 days before the onset of symptoms. The other three patients were in contact with infected people, McQuiston said.

Current outbreaks of smallpox are unusual because they are found in countries in North America and Europe where the virus is not commonly found. Chickenpox infection is common in remote areas of West and Central Africa, where the virus is most often transmitted from rodents to humans.

The World Health Organization has identified more than 550 cases of smallpox in 30 countries, most of them in Europe. The sudden appearance of monkey disease in several countries indicates that the virus has been spreading unnoticed outside of West and Central Africa for some time, WTO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Gebreius told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday.

McCuiston said some cases of monkeys in the United States may have gone unnoticed, but the CDC does not believe the virus is spreading across the country.

Dr. Raj Panjabi, who heads the White House’s pandemic preparedness office, said the United States is stepping up testing and contacts to cover the spread of the virus. Laboratories conducted 120 tests for the orthopox virus, including monkey disease, Punjabi said. If needed, 67 laboratories in 46 U.S. states have the capacity to perform 1,000 tests daily, he said.

The Biden administration also distributed 1,200 doses of vaccine to people at high risk of the virus and 100 oral antiviral treatment courses to those infected, Punjabi said. In the United States, there are two vaccines, Jynneos and ACAM200, as well as an antiviral drug in the national warehouse called tecovirimate.

Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine approved by the FDA to prevent monkeys and smallpox. ACAM2000 is an older-generation, single-dose vaccine approved for the prevention of smallpox, but can also be used against monkey smallpox under the CDC program. However, ACAM2000 can have significant side effects.

The CDC has said that people diagnosed or suspected of having a smallpox infection should be isolated from their homes unless local or state health departments say otherwise. People with a confirmed infection should be isolated until the skin lesions that characterize the disease are completely removed, the scabs are removed, and a new layer of skin is formed.

Smallpox usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. Ulcers then form on the body, and the virus first spreads through these sores when it comes in contact with the skin. In eight cases in the United States, rashes first appear on the genitals or around the anus. If a monkey has sores in its throat or mouth, it can be transmitted through respiratory droplets, but it is not easily transmitted in this way.

“Rash from the apex virus may be widespread in the body or in sensitive areas such as the genitals. It really hurts, and some patients have been told they need prescription painkillers to alleviate the disease,” McQuiston said.

According to the CDC, people with smallpox should be monitored for symptoms for 21 days. They should have their temperature checked twice a day for chills, swollen lymph nodes, and new skin rashes. If fever or rash develops, the person should isolate himself and contact the local health department immediately.

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