Some people recently diagnosed with STDs may also have monkeypox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, warning doctors they need to watch and test for both because monkeypox can closely resemble a sexually transmitted disease.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said some patients with monkeypox also have syphilis, herpes, gonorrhea, or chlamydia infections. The rash that characterizes monkeypox can resemble herpes or syphilis, Walensky said.
“It’s important to realize that monkeypox cases resemble some sexually transmitted infections and could be confused with other diagnoses,” Walensky said in a conversation with reporters on Friday. Patients with symptoms should be screened for any sexually transmitted infections, as well as monkeypox, she said.
“Healthcare providers shouldn’t rule out monkeypox just because a patient has a different diagnosis or a different STI,” Walensky told reporters.
The US has confirmed 45 cases of monkeypox in 15 states and Washington DC as of Thursday, according to the CDC. No deaths were reported. The current outbreak is unusual as the virus is spreading outside of West and Central Africa, where the disease has been present for decades. More than 1,300 cases have been reported in 31 countries worldwide, according to the CDC.
Moneypox usually begins with flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. The disease then develops into a painful rash that can spread throughout the body. Most patients recover in two to four weeks without specific medical treatment, according to the CDC.
However, some patients during the current outbreak have developed a rash on just the genitals or anus before experiencing flu-like symptoms, Walensky said. In some cases, patients developed a rash without flu-like symptoms, she said. In many cases, the localized rash hasn’t spread to other parts of the body or has spread to just a few areas, the CDC director said.
People diagnosed with moneypox during the current outbreak have reported close physical contact with others infected with the virus, Walensky said. The virus can spread through direct contact with wounds, bodily fluids, or materials such as clothing or bed sheets.
Walensky said it was unclear whether the virus could spread through semen or vaginal fluid like a sexually transmitted disease. The CDC also doesn’t know if the virus can spread from people who are infected but have no symptoms or mild symptoms.
according to dr Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official, at least 75% of monkeypox patients in the US have reported exposure to the virus during international travel. The majority of cases have been reported in men who have sex with men, according to the CDC.
Some patients aren’t sure how they caught monkeypox, suggesting the virus is spreading at low levels in the United States, McQuiston said. However, the CDC has not identified any city or region in the US with an outbreak, she said.
“There’s just those occasional, sparse cases where it’s not certain how they contracted monkeypox,” McQuiston said. “In all likelihood they acquired it from someone who has traveled recently, but they just aren’t sure,” she said.
Montreal, Canada’s third-largest city, has reported an outbreak, McQuiston said. Montreal is right on the border between the state of New York and New England.
Monkeypox can also spread through respiratory droplets when people have close, sustained personal contact, Walensky said. The virus is not believed to linger in the air or be transmitted through brief periods of shared airspace such as casual grocery store conversations, Walensky said. Monkeypox is also not thought to spread by briefly touching the same object, such as a doorknob, she said.
according to dr No airborne transmission of Mokeypox has been reported to Raj Panjabi, the head of the White House Office of Pandemic Preparedness. The difference is that respiratory droplets fall to the ground quickly, while aerosol particles are much smaller and can stay airborne longer, Panjabi said. Covid-19, for example, spreads through aerosol particles, which is one of the reasons it is so contagious.
According to Panjabi, the federal government has conducted 1,400 vaccination courses and 110 antiviral treatments for people who have had high-risk exposure or monkeypox infection. The US has also so far conducted 300 tests for orthopox, the virus family that includes monkeypox. When people test positive for orthopox, they are presumed to have monkeypox until the CDC in Atlanta confirms the diagnosis.
“We are working to make testing by public health labs more convenient and to expand testing beyond public health labs by commercial partners,” Panjabi told reporters on Friday.
The U.S. currently has 72,000 doses of vaccine Jynneos, a smallpox vaccine also approved to fight monkeypox, and is immediately available in the strategic national stockpile, according to Dawn O’Connell, who heads the Office of Health and Human Services that is responsible for the inventory. Manufacturer Bavarian Nordic is also sending another 300,000 cans to the United States, O’Connell told reporters.
Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the prevention of monkeypox in people 18 years and older. The US also has more than 100 million doses of an older-generation smallpox vaccine, ACAM2000, which can also prevent monkeypox infection. Smallpox and monkeypox belong to the same virus family, although moneypox is much milder.
The CDC generally recommends Jynneos over ACAM2000 because the latter vaccine can have serious side effects. The US currently does not have enough doses of Jynneos in the supply chain to vaccinate everyone in the US in the event of a public health emergency, McQuiston said. As a result, the Jynneos vaccine will only be given to the people who would benefit the most, she said. ACAM2000 has a role in vaccinating people not at risk of side effects from the vaccine to help maintain an adequate supply of Jynneos for those who need it, she said.