The World Health Organization has classified the monkeypox outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern. Five people have died from the viral infection, and there have been more than 16,000 cases reported across the globe.
In the United States, there have been nearly 2,900 cases of monkeypox as of July 22, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. New York leads the nation with 900 cases and California in a distant second with over 350 cases.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted that the outbreak “is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners,” and said that it “can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups.”
People can become infected with monkeypox via contact with the skin lesions or bodily fluids of infected animals or humans. The virus can also be spread through contact with materials that have been contaminated with the virus. Initial symptoms of an infection include fever, chills, rash, muscle aches, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes. A few days after the onset of symptoms, lesions will develop. They will last a few weeks and usually clear up without treatment.
There are two vaccines available, but health officials around the world are struggling to distribute them. The United States has distributed 156,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine across the country and can process 70,000 tests per week. Due to the low supply of the vaccines, many states are only offering them to people who believe they have been exposed to the virus.