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Monkeypox Outbreak: Weekly Update (August 29, 2022)


Last week, the number of new monkeypox cases dropped globally but increased in the Americas. More than 207,000 doses of vaccine have been administered through 19 jurisdictions in the US.

With Wyoming reporting its first case of monkeypox last week, the infection has now been identified in all 50 states. As of August 26, there were 17,432 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said on Friday that the number of monkeypox cases is still increasing, but “the rate of rise is lower.”

Over 200,000 doses administered

Over 207,000 doses of JYNNEOS vaccine against monkeypox had been administered in 19 jurisdictions that share data with the CDC by August 23, Walensky said during a press briefing on Friday.

The CDC data shows that nearly 97% are first doses with consistent week-over-week increases in vaccinations, and the majority of first dose recipients — at 92 percent — have been males.

Almost half of the vaccine recipients — 47% — are white, while Hispanic account for 22% of administered doses, and Black represent about 10%.

As Black and Hispanic men have increasingly and disproportionately represented new cases, this demographic shift “highlights the importance of equity in vaccine administration,” Walensky said.

New cases dropped globally

The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Thursday that the number of new monkeypox cases fell by more than 20% globally but increased in the Americas, where the disease transmission remains “intense.”

According to the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, there are signs that the outbreak is slowing in Europe, where “a combination of effective public healthcare measures, behavior change, and vaccination is helping to prevent transmission.”

During the press briefing, Tedros announced that the WHO’s regional office in the Americas signed an agreement with the vaccine developer Bavarian Nordic to support vaccine access in Latin America and the Caribbean.

A clinical trial of TPOXX

The Oxford University team behind the world-leading RECOVERY trial of COVID-19 treatments is launching a new clinical trial to test tecovirimat (TPOXX) in monkeypox patients. Researchers are now recruiting up to 500 people with monkeypox across the UK to participate in the trial remotely.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved TPOXX to treat smallpox in 2018. However, with respect to monkeypox treatment, TPOXX is currently used as a non-research expanded access investigational new drug (EA-IND).

This EA-IND designation means TPOXX is considered available for treatment in people with severe disease or those at high risk of severe illness, for example, having immunocompromising conditions or pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Changes in behavior

The latest American Men’s Internet Survey (AIMS) reveals that almost half of men who have sex with men (47.8%) reported reducing the number of sex partners after learning about the monkeypox outbreak.

Almost one in two men (49.8%) reported reducing one-time sexual encounters, and 49.6% said they had reduced sex with partners they met on dating apps or at sex venues.

Anyone can get infected with monkeypox through close, skin-to-skin contact; however, the disease disproportionately affects men who have sex with men.

Resources:

1. The White House. Press Briefing by White House Monkeypox Response Team and Public Health Officials.

2. The World Health Organization. Media briefing on Ukraine, monkeypox, COVID-19 and other global health issues.

3. Oxford University. Oxford University launch new clinical trial to test a treatment for monkeypox.

4. CDC. Guidance for Tecovirimat Use Under Expanded Access Investigational New Drug Protocol during 2022 U.S. Monkeypox Cases.

5. CDC. Strategies Adopted by Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men to Prevent Monkeypox virus Transmission — United States, August 2022.

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