Monkeypox: It's not a matter of whether it will spread widely. We need to focus on when.
The United States is seeing a steady increase in monkeypox cases and experts have been saying that we're not ready, but we can be.The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that we are past 6,600 cases as of Thursday and that just about every state is dealing with the virus. The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global emergency in late July.
More than 7,200 cases of monkeypox have been reported this year in dozens of countries, including over 600 cases in the United States, largely but not exclusively in men who have sex with men. While it is not as contagious as COVID-19, monkeypox could easily gain a foothold in communities now suffering from the latest spread of the disease.
If we do not contain this outbreak, the risk of the persistence of monkeypox among gay, bisexual and transgender people is likely. That is, it will dig its roots into these communities, making this a disease LGBTQ communities will have to live with for a long time.
2 more children in US test positive for monkeypox
At least four children in the U.S. have now tested positive for monkeypox, officials have confirmed. Your browser does not support this video Amidst a growing emergence of cases across the country, state officials in Indiana confirmed late last week that two children had tested positive for monkeypox. At this time, no additional information has been made available due to patient privacy concerns, the Indiana Department of Health wrote in a statement. “Like many other states, Indiana has seen an increase in monkeypox cases over the past month,” State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said in a statement.
This disease is spread by close physical contact – not sexual contact per se – so other places in which close physical contact is common will be at risk. It's like how a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus outbreak among gay men can spread to health clubs – think contaminated towels, benches – but this could jump to other settings of high physical contact or contact with contaminated clothing and bedding, such as homeless shelters.
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Monkeypox: It's not a matter of whether it will spread widely. We need to focus on when.
We can stop this outbreak in its tracks with vaccination, together with a surge public health response that helps countries quickly test and trace cases. That means all the countries who need the vaccine need access to it now.
More than 780K doses of monkeypox vaccine available Friday; San Francisco declares state of emergency
The government distributed 300,000 doses this month and announced Wednesday another 786,000 are available – bringing the total to over 1.1 million.Those doses will add to the 300,000 doses distributed this month, bringing the total to 1.1 million.
Coordinating serves our interests
Some countries, like the United States, have already begun administering vaccines to monkeypox cases and their contacts in a strategy called "ring vaccination." And some have started vaccinating individuals at higher risk.
But vaccines aren't as readily available in some other countries, including parts of Central and West Africa where monkeypox outbreaks have been documented in recent years.
Monkeypox is here and spreading: But the US is well prepared to handle the threat.
Promoting equitable access to vaccines is an act of self-interest. Limited vaccine access could allow the virus to establish deeper roots in more countries, increasing the risk of new outbreaks for years to come.
Ring vaccination eradicated smallpox and helped contain Ebola outbreaks. We can move now to help contain monkeypox.
The White House announced a new domestic monkeypox vaccination plan last week. As the United States begins to deploy vaccines to contain another new viral outbreak, it is critical that we ensure they are available to everyone who needs them at home and around the world. We cannot repeat the mistakes we saw with COVID-19.
Biden taps FEMA and CDC officials to lead monkeypox response
The appointment of a White House coordinator and deputy coordinator to deal with monkeypox mirrors the Biden administration's response to COVID-19.The White House said Biden would announce Tuesday that he has tapped Robert Fenton, who helped lead FEMA's mass COVID-19 vaccination effort as the agency's acting administrator when Biden first took office, as the White House coordinator on monkeypox.
For many years, monkeypox rarely spread out of regions in which it is endemic, in West and Central Africa. This new, widely dispersed global outbreak is unprecedented. Sharing supply with other countries in the short term will be critical.
Stockpile should be shared
The Food and Drug Administration has approved one vaccine to prevent both smallpox and monkeypox: Jynneos, developed by Bavarian Nordic, which has a longstanding partnership with the U.S. government.
Compared with the other stockpiled smallpox vaccine, Jynneos produces fewer side effects, is easier to administer and can be given to more people. But the world's only factory for producing the bulk of the Jynneos vaccine shut down last year for construction, which means that only stockpiled material can be converted into finished vaccines.
Spain reports 2nd death from monkeypox
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Spain reported Saturday a second death in as many days from monkeypox. These are believed to be the first confirmed fatalities from the disease in Europe since its recent spread beyond Africa. The ministry based in Madrid said both fatalities were young men. It reported its first death on Friday, the same day that Brazil also reported its first death from monkeypox. The global monkeypox outbreak has seen more than 22,000 cases in nearly 80 countries since May. There have been 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo, where a more lethal form of monkeypox is spreading than in the West.In the U.S.
That makes the U.S. stockpile particularly important: The United States owns more than 1 million finished Jynneos vaccine dosesand has placed orders for 3 million more finished doses. Not counting those orders, America owns enough bulk vaccine substance for more than 10 million additional vaccine doses.
Quarantine Stories: I got COVID (again). I'm staying home (again). Why are so few following the rules?
Unless the United States shares its enormous stockpile, the vast majority of the world will have to rely on the bulk vaccine substance owned by the company itself – which amounts to just "several million" doses – until next year.
Notably, America once promised the world it would share stockpiled doses: In 2004, concerned about a smallpox outbreak, Washington pledged to make millions of doses available to the World Health Organization in an emergency. Now, the same kinds of vaccines are needed against monkeypox.
Make more vaccine doses
In addition to sharing doses, ramping up production will also be vital. The most acute need is to convert the stockpiled bulk vaccine substance into finished vaccines. The United States can surge staff and supplies at the Bavarian Nordic site and enlist facilities to convert the bulk vaccine substance into finished vaccines through the Defense Production Act.
'I Warned About Monkeypox and Gay Men, Things Haven't Changed Since AIDS'
"It has always been that way" needs to change.Monkeypox is a brisk and awful virus causing blisters to form around the genital areas, including the face, and even in the eyes. Although this particular disease is spread among men who have sex with men, it is also transmitted through skin-to-skin contact.
As with COVID-19 tools, patents and intellectual property concerns should not stand in the way of responding to this new global health crisis.
'Bursts of sharp jabbing pain': What it's like to have monkeypox – and the fight against stigma
Prudence also demands building and diversifying the capacity for vaccine production. We might be able to contain this outbreak by sharing existing supply, but the need for monkeypox vaccines could also increase.
While public health officials are largely vaccinating exposed individuals and close contacts among men who have sex with men, this could shift if the outbreak drags on and monkeypox makes inroads into new demographic groups around the world, potentially requiring a far larger pool of people to be vaccinated.
Funding a network of distributed vaccine manufacturing and transferring technology can stand up the regional infrastructure needed to respond quickly to new outbreaks. At least one site can be located in Africa, where monkeypox has spread for years but was largely neglected by the global community.
For COVID-19, we failed the test – with America and a handful of countries hoarding vaccines, stumbling in our own quest to get people tested and traced early on.
We can do better this time, making sure that the entire world has the tools to quash this new viral outbreak and fight monkeypox.
Zain Rizvi is a research director in the Access to Medicines Program at Public Citizen. Gregg Gonsalves is an associate professor of epidemiology at the Yale School of Public Health.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Monkeypox is spreading. We must move quickly, avoid past mistakes to protect LGBTQ people.
California not ready to declare emergency over monkeypox .
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials are pressing for more vaccine and acting with “utmost urgency” to slow the spread of the monkeypox virus, but they have not decided whether to declare a statewide emergency as the city of San Francisco announced on Thursday, the state's public health officer said Friday. Dr. Tomás Aragón, director of the California Department of Public Health, said they are focused on getting accurate information to the public and expand testing. He said they are taking advantage of the ties forged with local health offices and clinics during the coronavirus pandemic to distribute vaccines quickly.