Mpox Infection Numbers Are Already Nearly Double Last Year’s Cases

Mpox infections continue to linger in the United States following the 2022 outbreak, with the number of cases reported this year already almost double the total number of infections in 2023.

There have been 582 cases of mpox — a viral disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus — reported in the U.S. since the start of 2024, which is nearly double the 299 total cases reported in all of 2023.

The Middle Atlantic Region, including New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania, has seen the most cases, with 185 infections reported in these states, according to the most recent numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The rise in cases coincides with manufacturer Bavarian Nordic’s announcement that the only FDA-approved mpox vaccine, called Jynneos, is now commercially available in the U.S.

Despite the increase in cases compared with last year, the viral disease is not currently considered a major threat to public health.

The 2022 outbreak

Mpox infections reached a peak in the U.S. in 2022, when cases surged in LGBTQ+ communities — particularly among men who have sex with men. The CDC activated its emergency outbreak response on May 23, 2022, and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared a public health emergency on August 4 of that same year.

Within the span of one year, more than 30,000 mpox cases were reported in the U.S., more than 1.2 million doses of the vaccine were administered, and more than 6,900 patients were treated with tecovirimat, an antiviral medication.

The response successfully curbed the outbreak, and the public health emergency declaration expired in January of 2023.

Throughout the 2022 outbreak, the Jynneos vaccine was made available in limited quantities through public health channels for individuals deemed to be at a high risk of mpox infection.

But as of April 1, the vaccine became commercially available across the nation.

Bavarian Nordic said healthcare providers can now order the vaccine through their preferred wholesaler and distribution partners to make it available for at-risk individuals at local pharmacies and physician offices in addition to public health clinics.

Mpox symptoms and spread

People with mpox often get a rash on their hands, feet, chest, face, mouth, or near or on the genitals. The incubation period is three to 17 days, during which a person likely won’t have symptoms and may feel fine, according to the CDC. The rash can initially look like pimples or blisters and may be painful or itchy, going through several stages, including scabs before eventually healing.

Other symptoms of can include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, exhaustion, muscle aches and backache, headache, and respiratory symptoms (sore throat, nasal congestion, or cough).

The virus spreads through direct contact with infected animals, close contact with a person who has mpox, and direct contact with contaminated materials.

Most infections are not life-threatening, though some people may face a higher risk of severe illness, including people with severely weakened immune systems, children younger than one year old, people with a history of eczema, and people who are pregnant.

According to estimates from the CDC, two million U.S. individuals are eligible for vaccination against mpox, though recent data shows that 60% of this population remains completely unvaccinated, and 15% have received only one dose.

“While mpox no longer constitutes a public health emergency, infections are still occurring throughout the U.S., with around 200 cases every month on average and transmission of the virus having been reported across most of the states in 2024 to-date,” Bavarian Nordic said in a news release. “Real-world data show that protection against mpox disease is superior in vaccinees who received the full schedule of two vaccinations as recommended by the CDC, compared to those who are unvaccinated or have only received one dose of the vaccine.”

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