Monkeypox: US cases hit 25 as CDC warns of community transmission

Maggie Baska June 4, 2022
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A scientist wearing a grey face mask, blue shirt and white top holds a dropper and container in their blue gloved hands as monkeypox samples are seen on their desk

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed there are 25 cases of monkeypox across 11 states. (Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via Getty)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed there are now 25 cases of monkeypox in the US as it warns of community spread. 

The CDC has identified 25 confirmed monkeypox cases across almost a dozen states as public health authorities are increasing testing in an effort to prevent the virus from spreading in communities. 

As of Friday (3 June), there were at least five cases reported in California, and five more monkeypox cases have also been found in New York.

Further cases have been announced in Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Utah, Virginia and Washington. 

Anyone can get or spread monkeypox, but the CDC has said that a “notable fraction of cases” in the outbreak are happening in the LGBTQ+ community as queer men have been disproportionately affected thus far

Jennifer McQuiston, the incident manager for the CDC’s monkeypox response, said during a briefing on Friday that health experts were ramping up their surveillance efforts as there is a possibility of “community-level transmission” in the US, Politico reported.  

“I want to emphasise that this could be happening in other parts of the United States,” McQuiston said.

“There could be community-level transmission that is happening, and that’s why we want to really increase our surveillance efforts.”

Monkeypox virus, represented with blueish-green colouring, present in human vesicular fluid that is depicted in monochromatic colouring
Monkeypox virus present in human vesicular fluid. (BSIP/UIG Via Getty)

Raj Panjabi, the White House’s senior director for global health security and biodefense, expected that Americans can “expect to see more cases and more tests in the coming days”. 

There have been over 900 global cases of monkeypox as of Friday, according to the CDC. The spread of the virus has reached at least 29 countries including SpainFranceAustraliaPortugal and the United Kingdom.

Health officials in the UK, which has the highest number of reported cases, have advised people with monkeypox symptoms not to have sex

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said individuals with “possible, probable or confirmed monkeypox” should “abstain from sex while symptomatic, including the period of early symptom onset, and while lesions are present”.

Monkeypox is not being described as sexually transmitted, but the close contact associated with sex can pass on the virus. 

The CDC has said that at least two genetically distinct monkeypox variants are circulating in the US. 

Although the CDC hasn’t sequenced all confirmed cases thus far, research has suggested the majority of cases in the US are linked to the same variant spreading in Europe, ABC News reported. 

But at least two cases were found to be genetically similar to cases seen in the US in 2021.

Analysis from more patients will be needed to determine how long monkeypox has been circulating in the US, but McQuiston thought it was a possibility that cases could have gone “under the radar previously”. 


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