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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is activating its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to help “supplement” the agency’s ongoing response to the current monkeypox outbreak, according to a recent press release.
“This action stands up the CDC’s command center for monitoring and coordinating the emergency response to monkeypox and mobilizing additional CDC personnel and resources,” the agency said.
“CDC’s activation of the EOC allows the agency to further increase operational support for the response to meet the outbreak’s evolving challenges.”
The EOC has more than 300 CDC staff who work with local, national, and international response partners on public health concerns.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU GET MONKEYPOX : SYMPTOMS, VACCINATIONS AND TREATMENTS
A high number of monkeypox cases are occurring in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, according to early CDC data.
Monkeypox is rare disease caused by the monkeypox virus that belongs to the orthopoxvirus genus, which also includes the virus that causes smallpox called variola virus.
But monkeypox is not related to chickenpox.
The disease is endemic in Africa, but since May 2022 monkeypox cases have been identified in approximately 25 states in the U.S. among people returning from international travel and their close contacts domestically.
The cases are unusual because prior to the 2022 outbreak, almost all monkeypox cases in people who lived outside Africa were linked to either international travel to countries where the disease is endemic or through imported animals that harbor the virus.
There are currently 244 monkeypox cases in the United States and 4357 cases globally in 48 locations, as of June 27.
“In the United States, evidence of person-to-person disease transmission in multiple states and reports of clinical cases with some uncharacteristic features have raised concern that some cases are not being recognized and tested,” the agency said.
The CDC is tracking cases, but currently the threat to the general population is low and does not spread easily between people without close contact, per the agency.
The CDC expanded the monkeypox case definition on June 1 with a “suspected case” defined as someone with the characteristic rash or someone who meets one of the epidemiologic criteria and has a high clinical suspicion of having the disease, per the agency’s website.
A “confirmed case” is defined as demonstrating the presence of monkeypox virus DNA by one of two specific lab techniques or isolating the virus in culture from a clinical specimen.
NEW YORK CITY, DC RUN OUT OF MONEKYPOX VACCINES
The agency also defines a probable case as someone without a recent orthopoxvirus exposure (such as receiving the smallpox vaccine) and demonstrating the presence of the virus by one of several lab techniques, such as detectable antibody levels after the rash starts.
The CDC encouraged health care providers who come across a patient with a rash that resembles monkeypox or a rash that is similar to chickenpox, shingles or syphilis to be evaluated for monkeypox.
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“Last week, CDC began shipping orthopoxvirus tests to five commercial laboratory companies, including the nation’s largest reference laboratories, to quickly increase monkeypox testing capacity and access in every community,” per the press release.
“This development will facilitate increased testing, leverage established relationships between clinics, hospitals and commercial laboratories, and support our ability to better understand the scope of the current monkeypox outbreak.”
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