There is one confirmed case of monkeypox and four suspected cases in the United States, the CDC announced Monday.
The confirmed case involves a man from Massachusetts and the four cases of orthopox involve men from New York, Florida and Utah. Orthopox refers to poxviruses in general.
“It is likely that there will be additional cases reported in the United States,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, veterinarian and deputy director of the CDC’s Division of Pathogens and High Consequence Conditions.
Brooks said the CDC decided to hold a press conference on the outbreak now, because LGBTQ Pride Month usually begins around Memorial Day weekend, and officials wanted to make sure the community was at ease. aware of the situation. He also urged doctors to be on the lookout for the disease because it can resemble other types of STDs.
“In some cases, during the early stages of the disease, the rash was primarily in the genital and perianal area,” Brooks said. “In some cases it has produced anal or genital lesions that resemble other illnesses like herpes, chicken pox or syphilis.
“What we’re trying to do by bringing attention to the fact that some of these cases have had genital and perianal presentation is just to remind people that people can come in for an assessment of what they think be an STD, but we’d like the provider to think ‘could it also be monkeypox?’ if the circumstances fit the story,” Brooks added.
Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, but it can be spread through intimate contact during sex when someone has an active rash.
It can also be spread by large respiratory droplets, but since large droplets do not travel far through the air, contact must be prolonged for this to occur.
“Anyone can spread monkeypox [from] contact with bodily fluids or monkeypox sores or respiratory droplets in close proximity to someone,” Brooks said.
The risk to the general public from this outbreak is low, according to the CDC.
“I don’t think there’s a big risk to the general monkeypox community right now in the United States. communicate effectively with them and help bring this outbreak under control,” McQuiston said.
Monkeypox does not appear to be spreading so quickly that parties or events have had to be canceled to stop the spread.
“It’s not Covid,” McQuiston said. “Respiratory spread is not the overriding concern. It’s contact, and intimate contact, in the current outbreak context and population. And that’s really what we want to emphasize.”
It is also important that this epidemic does not cause stigma towards the LGBTQ community, according to the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS. He warned that some reporting and commentary on monkeypox has used language and images that reinforce stereotypes and exacerbate stigma.
The WHO has also warned people not to use the disease as a way to negatively label a particular community.
“There is a lot of stigma and discrimination that surrounds many diseases, and I think the key thing that we need to be careful about is, as WHO, to work with our partners in communities and elsewhere to make sure we that the message is correct. we see cases among men who have sex with men, it is not a homosexual disease,” WHO adviser Andy Seale said on Monday.
The United States is responding to a request to release the Northern Bavarian Jynneos monkeypox vaccine from stockpile.
CNN’s Virginia Langmaid, Claudia Dominguez and Jacqueline Howard contributed to this report.