The World Health Organization has said that there is a “window” of opportunity to contain a recent monkeypox outbreak which has seen cases spread across Europe, the U.S. and Australia.
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The U.S. has identified 20 monkeypox cases across 11 states as public health authorities increase testing in an effort isolate and prevent the virus from spreading in communities, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Dr. Jennifer McQuiston, a CDC official, said the overall health risk to the public remains low right now. Most of the U.S. patients had a history of international travel and it’s likely that they caught the virus while abroad, but the virus could be spreading domestically, McQuiston said.
“There could be community level transmission that is happening, and that’s why we want to really increase our surveillance efforts,” McQuiston told reporters during a call on Friday. “We want to really encourage physicians that if they see a rash and they’re concerned it might be monkeypox to go ahead and test for that,” she said.
However, there appears to be a higher risk for gay and bisexual men at the moment. Of 17 patients the CDC has demographic data on, 16 of them self identified as men who have had sex with men, McQuiston said.
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