- Smallpox has been on the rise in the last two months, with more than 4,100 confirmed cases worldwide.
- In the United States, smallpox has occurred in more than 200 cases in 25 states, including California, Florida, New York and Texas.
- Health officials have begun vaccinating those at risk. A vaccine clinic opened in New York City last week.
In the United States, the incidence of monkey disease is on the rise, and health officials say there is little risk to the general population, and efforts have been made to vaccinate those at risk.
The disease, caused by the virus and first identified in humans in 1970, has been reported in parts of Central and West Africa, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers believe that it may have jumped from animals to rodents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since May 2022, there have been more than 4,100 confirmed cases of monkey smallpox and one death in 47 countries in Europe and South America.
As of Friday, there were more than 200 reported cases of monkey disease in 25 states in the United States, according to the CDC. Registered states include California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington.
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Earlier this week, the Biden administration began sending monkey smallpox tests to commercial labs such as Aegis Science, Labcorp and Quest Diagnostics to expand testing capabilities.
Rarely, the illness usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including muscle aches, fever before shivering and fatigue. It can often include rashes on the face and genitals.
Smallpox can be spread from person to person through contact with rashes, scabies, or body fluids, as well as through contact with clothing or bedding used by an infected person.
Most people recover from monkey disease within a few weeks, but the disease kills 1 in 10 people, according to the WHO.
Who needs a monkey smallpox vaccine?
Those at high risk of contracting the disease in monkeys are gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, health officials say.
Outside of Africa, the UK, which has the largest ape epidemic in the UK, now offers vaccines for those most at risk: men who have sex with men and have multiple partners, have group sex or go to places where they have sex. premises. In the UK, 96% of those infected are men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men.
The CDC also recommends vaccination for laboratory and medical staff and other people who may be at risk for monkey smallpox.
What is the Jynneos vaccine?
The Jynneos vaccine, approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2019 to prevent smallpox and monkey smallpox in people over the age of 18, requires two doses every four weeks. The CDC is also investigating measures to allow the vaccine to be used in children.
The Jynneos vaccine is considered safer than alternative vaccines because it is associated with smallpox and monkey smallpox, but is made from a less harmful virus. Studies that have led to his approval have shown that Ginneos has developed an immune response similar to the smallpox vaccine. Research data show that the vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkey smallpox, according to the Johns Hopkins Health Center.
However, the extent to which the vaccine will protect humans from monkey disease remains unclear. A study conducted in the Democratic Republic of Congo found that none of the 1,600 health workers in two years had contracted the disease in monkeys, according to the journal Science. However, the study did not include a control group and after the study period, one person contracted monkey disease.
The Department of Health and Human Services has more than 36,000 Jynneos courses under its Strategic National Warehouse and expects to deliver another 500,000 this year, according to the CDC.
“In fact, we don’t know the effectiveness of any of the monkey vaccines,” Ira Longini, a biostatrist at the University of Florida who advised the WHO, told Science.
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Does the smallpox vaccine protect against monkeys?
There are 100 million doses of ACAM2000 vaccine against smallpox in the United States, according to the CDC. African studies show that the vaccine is at least 85% effective in preventing monkey smallpox, the agency said.
However, according to the FDA, the vaccine, given by multiple punctures of two forks or tearing needles rather than bullets, can have some side effects, including inflammation and swelling of the heart and surrounding tissues, encephalitis, and the rest of the body from the virus. spread to part or other people in contact with them.
The vaccine is not made from the smallpox virus, but from the smallpox-like smallpox virus.
Is New York City offering monkey vaccines, or other states?
New York’s Department of Health and hospitals are vaccinating people suspected of having contact with a person with smallpox. The department last week opened a vaccine clinic suitable for all gay, bisexual and other men who have had sex with multiple or anonymous sex partners in the last two weeks.
According to the agency, other states and local agencies are working with the CDC on vaccination.
The California Department of Public Health has requested and received vaccines from a warehouse to protect against monkey disease, the agency said in a statement to USA TODAY.
According to the agency, 52 cases were registered in five counties of the state. “The victims were mostly gays, bisexuals and transgender people who had sex with other men,” the statement said. “Monkeys are infected through close and intimate physical contact. Although the risk to the population is very low, it is important to keep in mind that anyone who comes in contact with an infected person can get smallpox. People with normal rashes or skin ulcers should get sick. Contact your healthcare provider for more. “
The CDC recommends that you see a health care provider if you have any symptoms of smallpox, even if you think you have not been in contact with a sick person.
Is there a cure for monkey smallpox?
Patients with smallpox usually develop painful and itchy sores that eventually turn into scabies and fall off. Infected people begin symptoms 7-14 days after infection and may remain infected for several weeks.
The CDC can prevent the onset of the disease if monkeys and smallpox vaccines are given within four days of the illness, and can reduce symptoms if given up to two weeks after the illness.
However, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, there is currently no proven treatment for smallpox in monkeys. However, there are several antiviral drugs used to treat smallpox and other conditions that can help patients with monkey smallpox infection.
The antiviral drug Tecovirimat, designed to treat smallpox, has been approved for emergency treatment of viruses such as monkeys.
An antibody drug designed to treat the side effects of smallpox vaccines, Vaccinia Immune Globulin Intravenous (VIGIV) and other antiviral drugs used to treat eye infections in patients with AIDS, Cidofovir is a fast-acting treatment for smallpox and similar viruses. Another antiviral drug, Brincidofovir, can be used to treat the disease and research on complementary therapies and vaccines is ongoing.
Contribution: Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY; Associated Press
Follow Mike Snyder on Twitter: @mikesnider.