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 tighten testing to isolate patients and prevent the spread of the virus in communities.

Dr. According to CDC spokeswoman Jennifer McQueiston, the overall threat to public health 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, Mackwiston said.

“There may be infectious diseases at the community level, so we really want to step up our surveillance efforts,” Mackwiston told reporters Friday. “We really want to encourage doctors to check it out if they see rashes and are worried they might 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 detailed information to the CDC, 16 identified themselves as having sex with men, McQueen said. Anyone can catch smallpox through close physical contact, and the CDC is blocking monitoring of cases in all groups in the U.S. However, public health authorities are working to raise awareness in the LGBTQ community, McCuiston 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 known as the Congo Basin.

According to the CDC, fourteen of the 17 patients who provided complete information traveled internationally to 11 other countries in the 21 days before the onset of symptoms. The other three patients were either in contact with specific cases or did not know how they contracted the virus, 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, WHO 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.

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 contact with these ulcers. 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 spread by respiratory droplets, but it is not easily transmitted.

“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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