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CDC confirms 9 monkeypox cases in 7 states

CDC confirms 9 monkeypox cases in 7 states
The CDC confirmed nine cases of monkeypox in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York. Photo courtesy of World Health Organization

May 26 (UPI) -- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed on Thursday nine cases of monkeypox across seven states.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said in a news briefing that the nine cases have been identified in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York.

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While the nine cases "are within gay, bisexual men and other men who have sex with men," she emphasized that "risk of exposure is not limited to any one particular group."

"Stigma and discrimination in public health results in decreased access to care, ongoing disease transmission and a blunted response to outbreaks and threats," she added. "So I urge everyone to approach this outbreak without stigma and without discrimination."

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Walensky also said that of the two vaccines approved to be used for orthopox, the family of viruses that include monkeypox, one of them with the trade name Jynneos, has been "approved for the prevention of monkeypox disease in adults 18 years of age and older."

CDC officials have recommended the vaccination for people at highest risk due to direct contact with someone who has monkeypox.

The United States also has two antiviral treatments.

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"CDC has mechanisms in place to moves these products around the country so that they can be used for prevention or treatment for people who may benefit, wherever they may be," Walensky said.

"The U.S. has the resources we need to help us respond to monkeypox in the country right now," she added. "We've been preparing for this type of outbreak for decades."

CDC officials expect more monkeypox cases to pop up in the future.

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"We shouldn't be surprised to see more cases reported in the U.S. in the upcoming days," said Dr. Raj Panjabi, White House senior director for health security and biodefense, during the press briefing. "It's actually a sign that Americans are remaining vigilant, and healthcare providers and public health workers are doing their job."

The press briefing comes a few days after the first confirmed case in Massachusetts.

Monkeypox got its name from laboratory monkeys who scientists first discovered developed the pox-like disease in 1958, according to the CDC. The first human case was reported in 1970 in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but other cases of the rare disease spread through infection with the virus have occurred outside of Africa linked to international travel.

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The virus spreads in humans from "large respiratory droplets," or lesions on the skin, and signs and symptoms include a rash of lesions on the body, fever, headache, and muscle aches, the CDC notes. Unlike smallpox, monkeypox also causes swollen lymph nodes.

Illness from monkeypox typically lasts for 2-4 weeks, the CDC added. In Africa, the disease has caused death in as many as 1 in 10 people who have contracted it.

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