Ten monkeypox cases have been identified in eight states, according to the CDC.
The CDC website said that as of 5 p.m. Thursday, health officials had identified two cases in Florida, two cases in Utah, and one case each in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, New York, Virginia, and Washington state.
CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said Thursday that most of the cases “are within gay [and] bisexual men and other men who have sex with men,” CNN reported.
Monkeypox isn’t technically considered a sexually transmitted infection (STI), since you can get it from other forms of close contact, but people infected with monkeypox can pass it on during sex.
“This is a community that has the strength and has demonstrated the ability to address challenges to their health by focusing on compassion and science,” Walensky said, apparently referring to the AIDS epidemic.
The Virginia Department of Health said its presumed case was found in a woman in Northern Virginia who recently traveled to “an African country where the disease is known to occur.” Some of the other cases were in people who traveled to African nations.
Monkeypox is endemic in Central and Western Africa, and it’s rarely found elsewhere. State and local health authorities are doing contact tracing on the US cases to find out how the people contracted monkeypox, a skin disease similar to smallpox.
“We shouldn’t be surprised to see more cases reported in the US in the upcoming days,” said Raj Panjabi, MD, White House senior director for global health security and biodefense, according to CNN. “It’s actually a sign that Americans are remaining vigilant, and healthcare providers and public health workers are doing their job.”
On Friday, the World Health Organization said about 200 cases of monkeypox had been reported in more than 20 countries where monkeypox rarely occurs, The Associated Press reported.
A WHO adviser told the AP that the outbreaks in Europe, the United States, Israel, and Australia were probably linked to two recent raves in Spain and Belgium.
Spain said it had detected 98 cases, including a woman with a direct connection to a transmission chain previously limited to men, the AP said.