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First potential human-to-human transmission of monkeypox detected in the United States

The first potential cases of human-to-human transmission of monkeypox in the United States this year have been discovered.

This weekend, four cases were seen in general – with two in California and each one in Colorado and New York.

It brings the number of U.S. infections to 14 infections in eight states, with most infections among gay and bisexual men.

California health officials said their second case identified this weekend was a ‘close contact’ of a first-time patient who was diagnosed three days earlier.

In Colorado, another individual being investigated for the virus found a ‘close contact’ of a young gay or bisexual man who had been infected the day before.

The first patients in each state became ill shortly after returning from trips abroad to Europe and Canada, respectively, which had to do with outbreaks of the virus endemic to West Africa.

The explosion of cases in 24 countries prompted the World Health Organization (WHO) to upgrade the threat level of the virus to ‘average’.

They warned that as infections continue to grow, vulnerable people and children – who are more likely to die from the virus – could start catching it.

There are also growing concerns that the disease will play out in wild animals, making it endemic around the world.

In California, the case was discovered in Sacramento – a city of 500,000 – and traced back to the first infection that was detected three days earlier.

State health officials said the risk to the public was ‘very low’, although contact detection was still ongoing.

On May 24, they revealed a suspicious case in an individual returning from Europe – who is experiencing an epidemic – a day earlier.

WHO increases risk of monkey pox outbreak to ‘moderate’

Monkeypox’s threat to the world has been upgraded to ‘average’ by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the tropical virus spreads to dozens of countries.

The WHO said that the explosion of cases without links to each other or Africa means that the current figure ‘is likely to be an underestimation’.

It has warned that if infections continue to occur, vulnerable people and children – who are more likely to die from the virus – could start catching it.

To date, the epidemic, which was first discovered in early May, has spread to 24 countries and has been diagnosed in 106 Britons, the majority of whom are men who have sex with men.

There are also growing concerns that the virus will spread to wildlife and become endemic throughout the world, as is the case in parts of central and western Africa.

Passing between humans and animals would also increase the risk of monkeypox mutation. At present, the risk to public health is moderate, but the WHO said it had the potential to become ‘high’.

In Colorado, officials said their new case was in Denver and saw a ‘close contact’ of the case just a day in advance.

They also said that the risk to the public ‘remains low’.

It was not revealed how the other two cases in California and New York could be infected.

Tests are underway at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to confirm that these are monkeypox infections.

Most infections are among men, but in Virginia it is a woman who recently returned from West Africa.

The virus has been detected in California, Colorado, Florida, Massachusetts, New York, Utah, Virginia and Washington.

Only symptomatic people can spread the virus, usually through physical contact with infected skin lesions.

Although not a sexually transmitted infection, health officials say the virus can spread through the genital area.

More than 650 cases in 24 countries where the virus is not endemic have been detected so far, prompting the WHO to increase its threat level.

In a risk assessment published on Sunday, they warned that its ‘average’ rating could be shifted to ‘high’ if the virus ‘takes the opportunity to establish itself as a human pathogen’ and spreads to vulnerable groups.

The ‘sudden phenomenon’ and ‘wide geographical scope’ of cases suggest widespread human transmission of the virus – which is spread through skin-to-skin contact and the drops of an infected person – is underway, the WHO said.

It also warned that the increase in monkeypox infections suggests that the virus ‘may have been circulating unrecognized for several weeks or longer’.

Reported cases have been mild so far, but there is a risk that the virus has a ‘greater health impact’ if it spreads to people at risk, including children and immunocompromised people, as well as some HIV patients, who ‘especially risks may have more serious illness’.

Monkeypox can kill up to 10 percent of people who infect it. The milder strain that is causing the current epidemic kills one in 100 – similar to when Covid first struck. The rate of virus death has been higher among children in previous outbreaks.

The WHO warned that there was a ‘high risk’ of further spread of the virus through skin-to-skin contact between families and sexual partners, as well as through contact with contaminated materials such as utensils, beds and clothing.

Health chiefs have warned monkey pox, a virus endemic in parts of Africa and known for its rare and unusual rashes, bumps and lesions, could also spread to some pets and become endemic in Europe. Undated image of handout file issued by UK Health Security Agency of Monkeypox stages

Health chiefs have warned monkey pox, a virus endemic in parts of Africa and known for its rare and unusual rashes, bumps and lesions, could also spread to some pets and become endemic in Europe. Undated image of handout file issued by UK Health Security Agency of Monkeypox stages

Health chiefs have warned monkey pox, a virus endemic in parts of Africa and known for its rare and unusual rashes, bumps and lesions, could also spread to some pets and become endemic in Europe. Undated image of handout file issued by UK Health Security Agency of Monkeypox stages

“However, the risk to the general public seems to be low at the moment,” the agency said.

It warned that a ‘large part’ of the population is vulnerable to monkey pox by stopping the smallpox vaccination scheme.

Very few people under the age of forty have been vaccinated. In the US, teens were regularly offered this jab until four decades ago, around the point where the virus was eradicated.

Because smallpox and monkey pox are so similar, those given the jab are thought to have up to 85 percent immunity to the circulating strain.

No monkeypox cases have been recorded under medication in the current epidemic, it noted, but an NHS employee became infected in 2018 after treating a patient returning from Nigeria.

In its report, the WHO also warned that people who have recently had multiple sexual partners – whether where they live or abroad – may be ‘at risk’ of monkey pox.

It said health chiefs should reach out to at-risk communities, which ‘currently’ include men who have sex with men and their close contacts.

First potential human-to-human transmission of monkeypox detected in the United States Source link First potential human-to-human transmission of monkeypox detected in the United States

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