Some officials now say monkeypox elimination unlikely in US

NEW YORK — Some U.S. well being officials are conceding that monkeypox might be not going away anytime quickly.

The illness’s unfold is slowing however the virus is so widespread that elimination is unlikely, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mentioned. That conclusion was in a current CDC report, and echoed Friday by Marc Lipsitch, director of science in the company’s disease-forecasting heart.

Lipsitch hesitated to say monkeypox is completely right here to remain, however he mentioned it stands to be a unbroken risk for the subsequent few years.

“It’s in many geographic locations within the country” as well as in other countries, Lipsitch told The Associated Press. “There’s no clear path in our mind to complete elimination domestically.”

The virus has mainly spread among gay and bisexual men, though health officials continue to stress that anyone can be infected. It’s important that people at risk take steps to prevent spread and that vaccination efforts continue, Lipsitch said.

The CDC report contained some good news: The U.S. outbreak seems to have peaked in early August. The average number of daily cases being reported — fewer than 150 — is about a third what it was reported in the middle of the summer, and officials expect the decline will continue for at least the next several weeks.

Lipsitch attributed the good news to increasing vaccinations, cautious behavior by people at risk and infection-derived immunity in the highest risk populations.

Dr. Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, agreed that it’s unlikely that spread of monkeypox will stop in the U.S. anytime soon, but he said it’s still possible in the long term.

If domestic transmission were stopped, infections may still continue if people catch the virus while traveling internationally, he said. But the declining cases makes it seem like “we’ve turned a real corner.”

“The efforts underway are succeeding, and should be continued, if not intensified,” he mentioned.

With case numbers taking place, it is a good time for native well being departments to take a brand new stab at doing intensive contact tracing to attempt to cease chains of transmission, he mentioned.

Monkeypox is endemic in components of Africa, the place folks have been contaminated via bites from rodents or small animals, however it wasn’t thought of a illness that spreads simply amongst folks till May, when infections emerged in Europe and the U.S.

There have been greater than 67,000 circumstances reported in international locations that haven’t traditionally seen monkeypox. The U.S. has essentially the most infections of any nation — greater than 25,600. One U.S. dying has been attributed to monkeypox.

More than 97% of U.S. circumstances are males. The overwhelming majority have been males who reported current sexual contact with different males.

Though circumstances have been declining, the proportion of latest circumstances which have details about current sexual contact can be down, officials mentioned. That’s inflicting a rising blind spot about how the virus could also be spreading, Lipsitch famous.

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The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives help from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely answerable for all content material.

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