Rising monkeypox cases prompt caution.

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April 2nd 2024.

Rising monkeypox cases prompt caution.
As we enter the new year, the rise of the mpox virus is causing concern across the United States. Compared to this time last year, there has been a significant increase in cases, with almost double the number being reported. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between January 1 and March 23 of 2023, there were 298 cases reported. However, in the same time frame this year, there have been 576 cases provisionally reported. This spike in numbers, with over 110 cases in New York City alone, serves as a reminder that the disease is still circulating.

Although the current numbers are lower than the peak in 2022, when over 3,700 cases were identified in the UK, the increase in cases is still alarming. This disease, previously known as Monkeypox, is in the same family as smallpox and has been a cause for concern since its appearance. Experts are advising high-risk groups to continue taking extra precautions, including vaccination. The majority of reported cases are among those who are unvaccinated or have only received one dose.

It is worth noting that there is currently no recommendation for a booster dose for those who are fully vaccinated. However, a vaccine is available for those who have been exposed to mpox or are at risk due to their sexual behavior or immune-compromising conditions. Unfortunately, the low uptake of the vaccine in some areas means that many people are still vulnerable to the disease.

Dr. Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer for the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, stressed the importance of vaccination in preventing the spread of mpox. He stated that while there has been good participation in the vaccination push, the at-risk population is still far from being fully vaccinated. As a result, outbreaks and increases in cases are expected to continue.

To understand the risks associated with mpox, it is important to know how it is transmitted. The virus can be passed from person to person through close physical or intimate contact, as well as through contact with contaminated clothing, bedding, or towels. It can also be spread through the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. Symptoms of mpox include fever, headache, muscle and joint pain, and a rash that typically appears around one to five days after the initial symptoms.

According to the NHS, in the US, less than a quarter of the at-risk population has been fully vaccinated, with the highest coverage in the District of Columbia at 68%. However, in eight states, the coverage is below 10%, highlighting the need for more people to get vaccinated. Since the outbreak in May 2022, the US has recorded over 30,000 cases of mpox.

In conclusion, the mpox virus is still a cause for concern in the US, with a significant increase in cases compared to last year. While a vaccine is available and recommended for those at risk, low uptake in certain areas means that many are still vulnerable to the disease. It is crucial for individuals to take precautions and for more people to get vaccinated to prevent further outbreaks and the potential spread of this infectious disease.

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