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Monkeypox Cases Increase Amongst US Communities, Health Officials Send Warning

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Monkeypox cases are on the rise as the outbreak spreads across communities throughout the U.S. and health officials send warnings that it could get worse.

According to the CDC’s 2022 Monkeypox U.S. Map & Case Count, as of Monday evening, a total of 1,972 monkeypox cases have already been confirmed in the U.S., placing it second in the list of countries with the most monkeypox cases. The new number is more than six times the rate of cases announced just last month as, on June 29, the CDC reported 306 confirmed monkeypox cases in the U.S.

As the virus continues to spread, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, recently warned the public in an interview with CNN, advising that they need to pay more attention to the virus.

“This is something we definitely need to take seriously,” Fauci told the news outlet. “We don’t know the scope and the potential of it yet, but we have to act like it will have the capability of spreading much more widely than it’s spreading right now.”

“Whenever you have the emergence of something like this, you are always probably looking at what might be — might be, we don’t know — the tip of the iceberg, so that’s the reason why we’ve got to get the testing out there in a much, much more vigorous way,” he added.

Often incorrectly labeled as an LGBTQ STD, monkeypox is transmittable to anyone as it spreads mostly through skin-to-skin contact and has the ability to infect through touching objects and close face-to-face interactions. 

Although the virus is predominant amongst gay and bisexual men, the CDC said on Friday that eight of the confirmed cases have been amongst people who were female at birth. 

In addition, while many of those who have gotten diagnosed with monkeypox in the U.S. report some type of sexual activity, the virus isn’t considered an STD because it’s still unknown if it spreads through bodily fluids such as vaginal fluids and semen, according to the CDC.

The main symptom of monkeypox is a rash that has blisters or pimples forming on it and typically spreads throughout the body in areas such as the arms, feet, face, genitals, chest and hands amongst other parts. While some experience only a deep rash, others could develop more symptoms, such as a fever, aching and swollen lymph nodes, after forming a rash. 

To combat the rising cases, the monkeypox vaccine is being administered to those who suspect they’ve been exposed to the disease. Although currently the demand is reported to exceed the supply, Dr. Fauci expects that 70,000 more vaccines will be made available to Americans by the end of the month, according to CNN.

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