CDC Says We Probably Can't Get Rid of Monkeypox Now

CDC Says We Probably Can’t Get Rid of Monkeypox Now

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A new report from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers both good and bad news about the ongoing monkeypox epidemic in the country. New cases are slowing, likely due to a combination of vaccination and education efforts. But it is also likely that the virus will not be eradicated here and will continue to circulate locally at low levels.

The prognosis comes from the latest CDC technical report on monkeypox published late last week. According to the report, based on data collected up to September 23, the peak of newly reported cases occurred between mid-August and late August. Since then, the growth of cases has steadily declined. As of September 30, there were now 25.851 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States, while the seven-day average as of September 28 is 144 cases per day. According to known information, the majority of these cases involved gay and bisexual men who probably caught it during sex with other men.

In trying to explain this decline, the CDC authors note that vaccination is only one piece of the puzzle. Indeed, the cases began to decline while the vaccination rate among the groups most at risk was still very low. But vaccines can still play a role in fighting the epidemic and will certainly be essential moving forward. Preliminary data of the CDC, for example, found that people at risk who received the first dose of the vaccine were 14 times less likely to catch monkeypox than those who were not vaccinated, although it is still too early to confirm effectiveness. exact vaccine during this epidemic. Limited data in the past has suggested that both full doses may be around 85% effective.

Meanwhile, survey data suggested that people at high risk heed public health warnings and changed their behavior to reduce the risk of catching monkeypox, such as having fewer one-night stands or reducing their number of sexual partners. “The slowing of the epidemic’s growth is likely due to a combination of many factors, including vaccination, behavioral change, and possibly an increase in infection-acquired immunity among a segment of the most vulnerable sexual networks. risk,” the authors wrote.

The CDC expects new cases in the United States to continue to decline or plateau over the next two to four weeks and then decline significantly over the coming months. But the most likely scenario for the long-term future is one in which monkeypox persists. The report’s authors expect these cases to remain concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM), but they are uncertain of the extent of the spread of monkeypox virus within of this group.

“We note that low-level transmission could continue indefinitely, and the cumulative number of cases that could occur among MSM is unknown,” they wrote.

Prior to this year’s global outbreaks, monkeypox was primarily transmitted from animals to humans. But experts elsewhere in the world have feared that the extent of monkeypox in 2022 has made its total containment impossible and that it will become a commonly encountered human disease.

Of course, the path of monkeypox’s future is not yet set in stone, and many factors could still affect its trajectory. Although unlikely, it is possible that the virus will burn out and be eliminated locally in the United States in the near future. Conversely, monkeypox could spread widely among other groups and/or through means other than sex. At this point, however, the report’s authors note that none of the above scenarios appear to be happening in the United States or elsewhere.

Perhaps the silver lining of it all is that this situation could have been much worse. There were two major groups, or clades, of monkeypox viruses known to scientists before 2022 (a third have since been identified, which may have emerged during the outbreak). The most severe clade has had a death rate of 10% in past outbreaks, while strains that have spread globally this year have had a death rate of less than 1% (the United States has had two confirmed deaths). And unlike the other most recent emerging disease to circle the world, covid-19, we had vaccines and antiviral treatments available for monkeypox even before it became widespread.

That said, it is worth asking whether more decisive action from the start and better functioning public health system would have been able to prevent monkeypox from establishing itself as a new human disease. And as long as monkeypox is circulating, it’s a public health threat that needs to be managed and monitored.

#CDC #Rid #Monkeypox

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