Experts warn US could soon lose control of monkeypox


Experts warn US could soon lose control of monkeypox

Experts warn the US could soon lose control of monkeypox due to a lack of testing and limited access to vaccines

  • Some experts warn that monkeypox could spiral out of control due to oversights by public health officials
  • Testing capacity in America is still limited, more than a month after the outbreak began in late May
  • Access to vaccines is being increased by officials, but some have still complained about the limited supply and lack of information available
  • The US has recorded 460 cases of the tropical virus, although the actual number of cases is likely much higher

Some experts warn that gaps in monkeypox testing and immunization coverage will leave the United States vulnerable to losing control of its tropical virus outbreak.

Public health leaders at the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) and George Washington University (GW) warn that a broken and lacking response to the outbreak so far can have dire consequences.

Previous experts have warned that the virus has likely been spreading undetected across the US for some time, and fears that it could become endemic in the nation are not being curbed anytime soon.

As of Friday – the latest available data – the US has logged 460 cases in 31 states and the District of Columbia. Iowa is also believed to have recorded its first case over the weekend, although figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) don’t reflect that just yet.

“What we’ve fallen behind is in streamlining testing, making vaccines available, and streamlining access to the best therapeutics,” NCSD Executive Director David Harvey told The Hill.

“All three areas have been bureaucratic and slow and that means we have not contained this outbreak.”

Testing for the virus has traditionally been a slow and tedious process. When a patient begins to show symptoms of the virus, they are first screened for the orthopoxvirus family.

The lineage includes monkeypox — along with the extinct smallpox virus — and anyone who tests positive for it is likely to have the tropical infection.

The first American to go public with monkeypox is a gay actor in Los Angeles

The first American monkeypox patient to go public with his battle with the tropical virus has slammed health officials for a “lackluster” job testing for the virus, leaving many cases undiagnosed.

Matt Ford, a freelance actor who splits his time between Los Angeles and New York City, has spoken out to warn people that the disease “sucks” and that they should take it “seriously.”

He blasted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for their poor testing efforts and said it took officials three days to diagnose his illness. At that point, he “already knew” what they were going to say.

Revealing his diagnosis to Buzzfeed, Ford said he contracted the virus after having “skin-to-skin contact” with another patient.

The actor and writer, who describes himself as a “proud, openly gay man,” revealed that he first noticed stains in and around his “underwear zone,” which indicated he had contracted the virus.

Over the next few days, they spread to the rest of his body, including his face, arms, hands, and stomach.

He counted 25 spots in total and said they “filled with pus” and itched after they appeared. Some – especially in the “sensitive area” – became so painful that he couldn’t sleep at night without painkillers.

To confirm a case of monkeypox, samples must be sent to the CDC for testing, which will then confirm it.

However, testing is slow. Access to these tests is also restricted. This leaves many experts concerned that cases will go undetected.

The federal government has taken steps to expand capacity, but access to testing is still relatively limited.

Cases have also been detected so far that have no connection to international travel or any other case of the virus – meaning an undetected spread of the virus is underway.

“We’ve been screaming for a month about how bad the diagnosis for monkeypox is,” James Krellenstein, co-founder of Prep4All, told The Hill.

“And that really was a clear mistake, avoidable and it is very clear that this government failed to learn lessons from early Covid.”

The nationwide rollout of vaccines has also been under intense scrutiny.

American officials have ordered around 4.4 million doses of the Jynneos vaccine – including another 2.5 million in the past week.

However, getting the shots into the guns was a challenge. New York City held its first public immunization event two weeks ago – ahead of the Big Apple’s Pride celebrations – but the demand for immunizations was so great that officials had to cancel walk-in appointments within hours.

People waiting for shots at the clinic told that the nearly 1,000 doses available were “ridiculous” in a city of nearly 8 million people.

Other eager recipients accused officials of giving “conflicting” information about how to get stung.

Some experts are comparing the currently fractured response to monkeypox to that of COVID-19 when it first broke out in March 2020.

“I think we will continue to repeat those mistakes because that has been our track record. That was our track record,” said Jon Andrus, Professor of Global Health at GW.

“We’ve had more than five or six waves of Covid and we seem a little surprised each time… to stop the transmission we all need to be reading from the same page. We all have the same roadmap.”

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