As monkeypox outbreak widens in US, how concerned should you be?
- The US has reported 142 confirmed cases of monkeypox so far
- More than 1,880 infections have been reported globally in 2022
- "All Americans should be concerned about monkeypox cases", a senior health official said
The United States has recorded at least 142 confirmed cases of monkeypox over the last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Monkeypox, a disease that is rarely found outside central Africa, has been detected in more than two dozen European countries too. More than 1,880 infections have been reported globally this year.
Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, told the Associated Press in an interview: "All Americans should be concerned about monkeypox cases." However, the health official also gave some relief.
Becerra spoke about the increasing testing facilities in the United States that can swiftly help detect an outbreak. "Thankfully we have right now the tools to fight and treat cases in America," he said.
"By dramatically expanding the number of testing locations throughout the country, we are making it possible for anyone who needs to be tested to do so.”
What is the US CDC doing?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has roped in multiple test labs, which it said would significantly expand the nation's health system's capacity to test for monkeypox.
The country's testing capabilities for monkeypox were previously limited. The tests were largely confined to public health labs, which were able to run through no more than 8,000 samples per week. The new labs include Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.
The disease first causes flu-like symptoms before progressing to a rash on the face and body. Monkeypox comes from the same family of viruses as smallpox. Most people recover from monkeypox within weeks, but the disease is fatal for up to 1 in 10 people, according to the World Health Organization.