US may face more monkeypox cases before numbers dip: CDC chief


Washington, July 23

The US may see more cases of monkeypox before the numbers go down, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Rochelle Walensky said. "With the scale-up of testing, with the scale-up of information, we anticipate that there will be more cases before there are less," Xinhua news agency quoted Walensky as saying to The Washington Post.

The CDC currently does not have specific projections on how serious the situation may be, Walensky added.

"I do not think that we have a stable estimate now," the CDC chief said.

But she did note that the US on Friday detected two monkeypox cases in children for the first time.

The two cases are unrelated and are likely the result of household transmission, the CDC said in a statement.

The agency said the children are in good health and are being treated. Both of them are doing well, but they had contact with other people, and the CDC is following up on that, Walensky added.

So far, the US has reported over 2,800 confirmed monkeypox/orthopoxvirus cases, according to CDC data.

Ashish Jha, White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said the government has delivered 300,000 doses of a monkeypox vaccine and is working to expedite the shipment from Denmark of 786,000 more doses.

He said there is already enough vaccine on hand to provide a first vaccine dose to more than half of the eligible population in New York City and over 70 per cent of the eligible population in Washington D.C.

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that is usually transmitted through body fluids, respiratory droplets and other contaminated materials.

The disease usually results in fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes.

The US is still evaluating whether the monkeypox outbreak should be declared a public health emergency.

"We're looking at what are the ways in which the response could be enhanced, if any, by declaring a public health emergency," said Jha.



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