A man arrives for a monkeypox vaccination at the Northwell Health Emergency Medical Center in Fire Island Cherry Grove, New York, USA on July 15, 2022.
Eduardo Munoz | Reuters
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed more than 1,400 cases of monkeypox infection in 44 US states and territories and said it expects the outbreak to grow.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said demand for monkeypox vaccines exceeds available supply, leading to long queues in places like New York City, the epicenter of the outbreak.
“We know it’s frustrating,” Walensky told reporters on Friday. She added that the Department of Health and Human Services is working to increase the supply.
Walensky said the agency expects cases to increase in July and August as symptoms of the virus typically appear within three weeks of infection. People who do not yet know they are infected are likely to seek medical attention and be tested in the coming weeks.
The US now has the capacity to conduct 70,000 tests per week after recruiting several commercial labs, including Quest Diagnostics as well as labcorpValensky said. Laboratory test for orthopox, a family of viruses including monkeypox. People who test positive for orthopox are thought to have a monkeypox infection, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention spokesperson Dr. B. Jennifer McQuiston.
Tests include smearing painful lesions that are characteristic of the disease but can take weeks from exposure before they develop. Walensky said there are no approved tests that can confirm orthopox in any other way.
The outbreak right now is primarily affecting gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. Of the 700 patients who provided demographic information, the vast majority identified as men who have sex with men, Walensky said.
More than 11,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed worldwide in 55 countries, according to the CDC.
The US has shipped all doses of monkeypox vaccine that states have ordered so far, totaling 156,000 shots, with the vast majority delivered last week, according to HHS. On Friday, the federal government provided local authorities with an additional 131,000 doses, bringing the total supply available since May to more than 300,000 shots.
The CDC vaccination campaign relies on the two-dose Jynneos vaccine, which was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2019 for adults 18 years of age and older who are at high risk of contracting monkeypox or smallpox.
The US is also working with Danish manufacturer Bavarian Nordic to take delivery of another 786,000 doses of Jynneos currently stored in Denmark. HHS will pre-locate these doses in the US and they will become available for distribution after the FDA signs a contract with the company’s facility. That approval is expected by the end of the month, according to Don O’Connell, an HHS official who heads the office that oversees US national strategic stockpiles.
HHS has ordered 2.5 million more doses of Jynneos vaccine from Bavarian Nordic to be shipped to the US national strategic stockpile over the next year. On Friday, the US placed an order for an additional 2.5 million doses to enter the national stockpile in 2023. There should be nearly 7 million doses of Jynneos in the US by mid-2023, according to HHS.
Local health authorities may also request the ACAM2000 old-generation smallpox vaccine, which is likely to be effective against monkeypox virus, but this vaccine can have serious side effects and is not recommended for people with weak immune systems, such as HIV-infected people, those with skin diseases. condition and pregnant women. There are over 100 million doses of ACAM2000 available in the US.
The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated if they have known or suspected exposure to monkeypox within the past two weeks. Federal health authorities are prioritizing distributing the vaccine in places with a growing number of infections, Walensky said, but also offering shots in all jurisdictions to people who are at increased risk of contracting monkeypox.
“It is critical for states and jurisdictions to report all of their cases quickly and accurately in accordance with CDC guidelines,” Walensky said.
Jynneos vaccine is given in two doses 28 days apart. Walensky stressed that a single dose does not provide sufficient protection against the virus and that a second shot does not provide full protection until two weeks later.
Monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact, close face-to-face contact such as kissing, and contaminated materials such as sheets and towels, according to the CDC.
In the past, the disease usually started with flu-like symptoms and then progressed to a rash that could spread throughout the body. But the current outbreak has caused atypical symptoms, with some people initially developing a rash or no flu symptoms at all. Many people develop a rash, which may look like pimples or blisters, on intimate areas such as the genitals or anus.
Walensky said the CDC recommends that people avoid intimate physical contact with people who have monkeypox-like rashes and consider minimizing sex with multiple or anonymous partners. People should also avoid sex parties or other events where people don’t wear a lot of clothes. Individuals who choose to have sex with a partner with monkeypox should follow CDC risk reduction guidelinesValensky said.