US preparing to deploy monkeypox vaccines amid more probable cases

The United States is preparing to give monkeypox vaccines to close contacts of people infected and to deploy treatments, with five cases now either confirmed or probable and the number likely to rise, officials said Monday.

There is one confirmed US infection so far, in Massachusetts, and four other cases of people with orthopoxviruses -- the family that monkeypox belongs to, senior officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said at a press briefing.

All the suspected cases are presumed to be monkeypox, pending confirmation by testing at CDC headquarters, said Jennifer McQuiston, deputy director of the division of high consequence pathogens and pathology.

One orthopoxvirus case is in New York, one in Florida and two in Utah. All those infected so far in the United States have been men who had a relevant travel history.

Genetic sequencing of the Massachusetts case matched that of a patient in Portugal and belonged to the West African strain, the milder of the two monkeypox strains.

Monkeypox has symptoms similar to smallpox but is far less severe, with most people recovering within weeks.

"Right now we are hoping to maximize vaccine distribution to those that we know would benefit from it," said McQuiston.

"Those are people who've had contacts with a known monkeypox patient, health care workers, very close personal contacts, and those in particular who might be at high risk for severe disease."

In terms of supply, the United States has around one thousand doses of JYNNEOS, a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved vaccine for smallpox and monkeypox "and you can expect that level to ramp up very quickly in the coming weeks as the company provides more doses to us," said McQuiston.

...

Continue reading on: