How We Stopped Mpox This Year And What’s Next
(CTN News) – Today, you don’t hear much about monkeypox (formerly known as mpox).
MPox caused a storm of warnings, declarations, articles, tweets, push notifications, and social media conversations in the summer of 2022. Various organizations called on WHO to change the name to something less stigmatizing.
At one point, the digital sphere was clogged with concern that this new global outbreak could spell the end. There’s barely a whisper now.
The US had 29,646 cases of mpox as of Dec. 14, including 20 deaths. Globally, there have been 83,000 cases and 66 deaths, many in countries that have never had the disease before.
Most of these cases have been identified in gay and bisexual men, with people with autoimmune conditions, like HIV, being at greatest risk. The current mpox outbreak has disproportionately affected Black and Latino men in the US.
Cases are way down and trending right. mpox had the highest single-day case count in the US on Aug. 1, and the highest seven-day average was 462 on Aug. 6.
That’s compared to the CDC’s latest data, which shows fewer than 10 cases most days. Data doesn’t lie; things seem to be turning around.
As a result of this success, US Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra announced on Dec. 2 that the agency wouldn’t be renewing its public health declaration for mpox.
“From the beginning of the mpox outbreak, the Administration pulled every lever to stop it,” he said.
The low number of cases today means HHS won’t need to renew the emergency declaration on January 31, 2023.
That’s great news! Let’s celebrate! Taking a closer look at the public health and grassroots efforts that turned mpox from a terrifying and fast-spreading outbreak to a non-pandemic is also worthwhile, too.
Government officials listened to the community, private organizations stepped up to educate, and gay people — almost entirely the gay community – got vaccinated, changed their behaviors, and got a coordinated, agile, science-informed effort to make this happen.
As well as mobilizing and stretching the supply of an existing vaccine, tecovirimat (or Tpoxx) was approved as a potential vaccine.
In 2022, there was a global outbreak of measles in countries where the virus had previously caused isolated outbreaks or a few cases, usually among travelers.
(The virus was first identified in 1970 and usually causes smaller outbreaks – dozens or hundreds rather than tens of thousands – in 10 African countries. It can jump to humans from rodents.)
Cases were reported in the United Kingdom on May 7.
Then, more clusters appeared across Europe, mostly among gay men. The U.S. became the country with the most documented cases after the outbreak spread across the Atlantic.
Education and vaccine campaigns were instituted in response. Two months later, the World Health Organization and the White House declared the virus a public health emergency, which led to more funding, attention, and coordination to fight it.
Some people get shingles with mild and isolated lesions, and others with unbearable pain. Symptoms of chickenpox include fever, chills, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and painful skin lesions.
MPOX can be dangerous if you’re pregnant, under 1, or have a weakened immune system or a skin condition, like eczema.
A National Monkeypox Response office was created Aug. 2 by the White House, under the leadership of FEMA’s Robert J. Fenton and CDC’s Dr. Demetre Daskalakis.
Fenton’s work at FEMA made the US COVID-19 vaccination program work. Daskalakis has made legends in the HIV/AIDS fight, from community care to public health.
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