Monkeypox Outbreak: Weekly Update (October 3, 2022)

The third death of a patient with monkeypox was reported in the US last week. Over 100 LGBTQ+ groups called on Congress and the White House to allocate additional funding for the groups most affected by the outbreak.

As of September 30, there were 25,851 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the US. Men remain disproportionately affected by the disease, with most cases reported among those aged 26 to 40.

Black or African American patients account for 51% of confirmed cases, while nearly one in three cases (28%) are diagnosed in White people. Hispanic or Latino patients make up 17% of confirmed monkeypox cases.

Death of a person with monkeypox

The Ohio Department of Health (ODH) listed the death of a person with monkeypox in the department’s Monkeypox Dashboard last week. However, the ODH did not provide further details, including whether the death was caused by monkeypox.

Last month, Los Angeles County confirmed the first US death due to monkeypox in a severely immunocompromised patient. Another person with monkeypox died in Texas, but it remains unclear if the virus caused the death.

Early evidence of vaccine’s efficacy

The CDC says that early data of their analysis suggests that unvaccinated people have 14 times the risk of monkeypox disease compared to people who received the JYNNEOS vaccine against monkeypox.

The agency used data from 32 states collected between July 31 to September 3. In their analysis, the CDC considered people vaccinated if their illness began 14 days or more after the first dose of the vaccine.

In the US, the JYNNEOS vaccine, a weakened version of the smallpox vaccine, is approved to prevent smallpox and monkeypox disease in adults 18 years and older. However, to date, only animal testing has been conducted.

The CDC notes that the limitations of their analysis include the inability to account for possible differences in testing or behaviors between vaccinated and unvaccinated people or potential differences in risk due to patient characteristics such as age or underlying condition status.

Calling for additional funding

Last week, 115 LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations called on Congress and the White House to provide additional resources and increase transparency in the monkeypox outbreak response.

According to the organizations’ letter, current and future funds should be prioritized to reach communities most impacted by the outbreak, including allocating resources to sexual health clinics and community-based organizations.

“Money must be made available for no-cost testing, treatment, contact tracing, training, and hiring of medical professionals, and data collection,” the letter says.

Monkeypox transmission in jail

The CDC released a report that describes a case of a person with symptomatic monkeypox in Cook County Jail in Chicago, Illinois. After the person spent seven days in congregate housing, no cases were detected among residents with intermediate-risk exposures, such as being within six feet of the patient for three hours or longer without wearing a mask.

The exposed people received symptom monitoring or serologic testing. They were also offered postexposure prophylaxis (PEP) — a preventative medicine used after exposure to a pathogen. According to the report, the monkeypox virus DNA, but no viable virus, was detected on one surface.

“Although monkeypox transmission might be limited in similar congregate settings without higher-risk exposures, facilities should implement recommended infection control practices and provide prevention education including confidential PEP counseling,” the CDC says.

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