As monkeypox rapidly spreads both globally and in the US, the Biden administration is stepping up its response to the outbreak by making an additional 1.8 million vaccine doses available.
As of August 18, there were 14,115 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US. Among them is the first known case of monkeypox in a minor in New York state.
Global cases increased by 20%
Monkeypox infections increased by almost 7,500 (20%) in the previous week to 35,000 across 92 countries and territories, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Wednesday. Most of the reported cases are in Europe and the Americas. As of August 17, twelve deaths had been reported.
The WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that almost all cases continue to be reported among men who have sex with men, “underscoring the importance of all countries to design and deliver services and information tailored to these communities.”
According to Tedros, the global supply of the monkeypox vaccine, known as JYNNEOS in the US, and evidence of its efficacy remain limited.
More doses of vaccines available
The Biden administration announced on Thursday that an additional 1.8 million doses of monkeypox vaccine JYNNEOS would be available to jurisdictions for ordering starting from Monday.
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is also launching a pilot program that will provide up to 50,000 doses from the national stockpile to be made available for Pride and other events that will have high attendance of gay and bisexual men. These doses will be on top of jurisdictions’ existing allocations and supply of vaccines.
In addition, the HHS will be pre-positioning 50,000 courses of the antiviral medication TPOXX across the country for people who are likely to have severe disease, such as those with weakened immune systems.
A case of nonsexual transmission
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published research on Wednesday that describes a case of monkeypox infection without sexual exposure.
A man in his 20s sought medical help following travel to the UK. He developed his first lesions 14 days after attending a large, crowded outdoor event, where he had close contact with others, including dancing, for several hours.
The man, who attended other similar outdoor events over four days, identifies as bisexual but reported no recent sexual contacts during his travels or in the last three months. He also denied having common monkeypox symptoms such as fever, chills, headache, lymph node swelling, cough, fatigue, or anorectal pain.