The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that some people recently diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases may also have monkeypox, warning doctors that they need to be monitored and tested. Test both because monkeypox can look a lot like an STD.
Some patients with monkeypox also have infections with syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea or chlamydia, said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky. The rash that characterizes smallpox in monkeys could resemble herpes or syphilis, says Walensky.
“It’s important to know that monkeypox cases can present similarly to some sexually transmitted diseases and can be mistaken for other diagnoses,” Walensky said on a call with reporters on Friday. guess differently”. Patients with symptoms should be evaluated for all sexually transmitted infections as well as monkeypox, she said.
“Health care providers should not rule out monkeypox just because a patient has a different diagnosis or a different STI,” Walensky told reporters.
According to the CDC, the US has confirmed 45 cases of smallpox in 15 states and Washington DC as of Thursday. No deaths have been reported. The current outbreak is unusual as the virus is spreading outside of West and Central Africa, where the disease has been present for decades. According to the CDC, more than 1,300 cases have been reported globally in 31 countries.
Smallpox often begins with flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. The disease then progresses to a painful rash that can spread throughout the body. According to the CDC, most patients recover in 2-4 weeks without specific medical treatment.
However, some patients in the current outbreak developed a rash only on the genitals or anus before they experienced any symptoms, Walensky said. In some cases, patients develop a rash without any flu-like symptoms, she said. In many cases, the rash at the site does not spread to other parts of the body or to only a few areas, the CDC director said.
Walensky said people diagnosed with smallpox during the current outbreak have reported physical contact with others infected with the virus. The virus can be spread through direct contact with sores, bodily fluids, or materials such as clothing or bed sheets.
Walensky said it’s still unclear whether the virus can be spread through semen or vaginal fluids like a sexually transmitted disease. The CDC also doesn’t know if the virus can be spread from people who are infected but have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
At least 75% of monkeypox patients in the US have reported exposure to the virus while traveling internationally, according to Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official. According to the CDC, the majority of reported cases are in men who have sex with men.
Some patients aren’t sure how they got monkeypox, McQuiston said, which suggests the virus may be spreading at low levels in the United States. However, the CDC has not identified any cities or regions in the US with outbreaks, she said.
“There’s just been occasional, sparse cases where it’s not certain how they got monkeypox,” McQuiston said. “In all likelihood, they got it from someone who recently traveled but they’re not sure,” she said.
Montreal, Canada’s third-largest city, has reported an outbreak, McQuiston said. Montreal is located just across the border from New York State and New England.
Walensky said monkeypox can also be spread through respiratory droplets when people have close and long-term direct contact. Walensky said the virus is not airborne or transmitted through shared spaces like casual conversations at the grocery store. Monkeypox is also not thought to be spread by quickly touching the same item as a doorknob, she said.
According to Dr. Raj Panjabi, head of the White House pandemic preparedness office, there have been no reports of respiratory transmission of chickenpox. The difference is that respiratory droplets quickly fall to the ground while much smaller aerosol particles can stay in the air for a longer time, Panjabi said. For example, Covid-19 spreads through aerosol particles, which is one of the reasons it is so contagious.
The federal government has provided 1,400 vaccine courses and 110 antiviral treatments to people at high risk of exposure to or infection with smallpox in monkeys, according to Panjabi. To date, the United States has also performed 300 tests for German measles, a family of viruses that includes smallpox in monkeys. When people test positive for chickenpox, they are assumed to have monkeypox until the CDC in Atlanta confirms the diagnosis.
“We are working to make testing through public health labs more convenient and expanding testing beyond public health labs through commercial partners,” Panjabi said. with reporters on Friday’s call.
According to Dawn O’Connell, head of the Office of Health and Human Services in charge of the inventory, the United States currently has 72,000 doses of Jynneos vaccine, a minor chickenpox vaccine that has also been approved to fight the virus. monkeypox, immediately available in the strategic national stockpile. Bavarian maker Nordic is also sending another 300,000 doses to the US, O’Connell told reporters.
Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent monkeypox in people 18 years of age and older. The United States also has more than 100 million doses of the older generation smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, which can also prevent smallpox infection in monkeys. Smallpox and monkeypox belong to the same family of viruses, although smallpox is much milder.
CDC usually recommends Jynneos instead of ACAM2000, because the latter vaccine can have serious side effects. There are currently not enough doses of Jynneos in the supply chain to immunize everyone in the US during a public health emergency, McQuiston said. As a result, the Jynneos vaccine is only given to those who benefit most from it, she said. She said ACAM2000 has a role in vaccinating people who are not at risk of side effects from the vaccine to help maintain an adequate supply of Jynneos for those who need it.