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News > World

Monkeypox Infections Rise in US Amid Concern for Overlooking

  • Health worker doing monkeypox tests.

    Health worker doing monkeypox tests. | Photo: Twitter/ @krislabert

Published 16 June 2022

Doctors overlooked COVID-19 cases because the CDC's definition required recent foreign travel by a patient as a prerequisite for testing.

Monkeypox cases in the United States have continued to climb, reaching 72 as of Tuesday, according to the latest data of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Experts are concerned the outbreak may be overlooked due to delay in facilitating testing.


WHO to Assess Whether Monkeypox Is a Global Health Emergency

Monkeypox cases have been found in 18 states, with California and New York reporting 15 cases each, the most number among U.S. states. The CDC is urging healthcare providers across the country to be alert for patients who have rash illnesses consistent with monkeypox, regardless of whether they have travel experience or specific risk factors for monkeypox.

The World Health Organization (WHO) Director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency would convene an emergency meeting next week to determine whether the spread of monkeypox should be considered a public health emergency worldwide. Monkeypox is spreading at unnerving rates and in unprecedented places including the United States.

"However, the biggest worry for Americans is not the disease: It's that our response to it shows how little we have learned from COVID, and how much there is still to do to limit the risks from future pandemics," said a report of Bloomberg.

An important early governmental failing in the COVID outbreak was the delay in facilitating testing. This blinded medical and public health experts to the proliferation of the virus in the crucial early months.

"The response to monkeypox has hardly been better," said the report. Early on, doctors overlooked COVID-19 cases because the CDC's definition required recent foreign travel by a patient as a prerequisite for testing.

"Now we have similarly focused narrowly in identifying signs and symptoms that warrant testing for monkeypox," said the report.

Health departments and officials need to move faster to detect and map the proliferation of new diseases through well-practiced surveillance efforts. People normally become infected with the monkeypox virus through contact with the skin lesions or bodily fluids of infected animals or humans or through contact with materials contaminated with the virus.

The CDC says the overall health risk of monkeypox to the public remains low. Health experts warned the public to take caution regarding transmission, adding that examining skin for any rashes and keeping distance from others are ways to help control the spread.

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