WASHINGTON — Monkeypox cases are slowly increasing throughout the United States, though public health officials said Thursday they have the tools needed to diagnose, treat and contain the virus that’s mostly spread by skin-to-skin contact.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said during a briefing that there are now nine diagnosed cases in seven states, a slight increase from earlier in the week. Not all of the cases are travel related, leading officials to presume that community spread is now taking place.
As of Wednesday the CDC had confirmed monkeypox cases in California, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia and Washington state.
The cases so far, Walensky said, have presented in gay and bisexual men within the United States, but she cautioned that disease transmission is “not contained within social networks, and the risk of exposure is not limited to any one particular group.”
“While some groups may have a greater chance of exposure right now, infectious diseases do not care about state or international borders,” she said.
The Virginia case, however, was diagnosed in a woman, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The CDC later clarified to the Virginia Mercury that officials misspoke during their briefing and that the Virginia patient is in fact female.
CDC officials said earlier this week that they’d confirmed one case in a Massachusetts man and were waiting on lab results to confirm what officials expected was one case in Florida, one in New York City and two in Utah.
More cases likely
White House Pandemic Office coordinator Raj Panjabi said during the Thursday briefing that officials are explaining the signs and symptoms of monkeypox to doctors and hoping that everyday citizens will begin to learn about the virus as well.
“All to say, we shouldn’t be surprised to see more cases reported in the U.S. in the upcoming days. It’s actually a sign that Americans are remaining vigilant and health care providers and public health workers are doing their job,” he said. Read more