Health Officials Warn of Rise in Monkeypox Cases in North Carolina

2024-03-09 13:00:00

Public health officials are now warning about a a rise in monkeypox (i.e., Mpox) cases in North Carolina.

Ten cases were reported among county residents in February, up from six in January. Nearly 120 residents, including children, were potentially exposed to those 16 confirmed cases, reports stated.

“While these exposures were isolated, to protect those most vulnerable to this virus, we need residents to be aware of mpox symptoms and to act quickly and responsibly if they have any symptoms of mpox, including isolating from others,” said Mecklenburg County Public Health director Dr. Raynard Washington.

Concerns are focused on the number of children exposed to the infectious agent, from an infected adult in schools, preschools, and daycare.

There have been 16 confirmed cases of Mpox since the start of the year in Mecklenburg County.

At least 120 people have been exposed. Of those, 40 of them were children, officials said.

“I don’t want to create mass panic,” he said. “I don’t want every parent to say, ‘I’m not sending my kid to school because I’m worried about it, or they can’t get on the school bus,’ or whatever the case might be … ‘can’t go to church or the rec center.’ That’s not the message we’re trying to send.”

The message is tailored more for adults. The kids were exposed because an adult likely went to work at a school, preschool, or daycare and caught the disease.

“The individual who was infectious was around those individuals for an extended period of time,” Washington said.

In related news, it turns out that the 2022 outbreak of monkeypox was curbed in large part by drastic changes in behavior among gay and bisexual men and not by vaccination. This finding is based on a new analysis published in the journal Cell.

Public health response to outbreaks often relies heavily on vaccines and treatments, but that underestimates the importance of other measures, said Miguel Paredes, lead author of the new study and an epidemiologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle.

Although the Food and Drug Administration approved a vaccine for mpox in 2019, getting enough doses produced and into arms proved challenging for many months after the outbreak began. Vaccines for new pathogens are likely to take even longer.

The new analysis suggests an alternative. Alerting high-risk communities allowed individuals to alter their behavior, such as reducing the number of partners, and led to a sharp decrease in transmission, Mr. Paredes said. In North America, the outbreak began petering out in August 2022, when less than 8 percent of high-risk individuals had been vaccinated.

Who could have guessed that stopping sexually promiscuous behavior would put the brakes on the spread of a sexually transmitted disease? The finding is quite astonishing (/sarcasm).

Finally, scientists studying the recent outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), which involves a different clade of the virus than the one responsible for the 2022 global outbreak, shows evidence that transmission is now occurring through sexual activity involving heterosexuals.

For the study, researchers interviewed 51 of 164 patients who were admitted to Kamituga hospital September 2023 through January 2024. Of that group, 24 were professional sex workers. The most common symptoms were fever and oral and anogenital lesions. Two deaths were reported.

Heterosexual partners were mainly affected, suggesting that heterosexual contact may be the main form of transmission. The investigators wrote that professional sex workers –primarily young women–were the dominant occupational group, suggesting that they and their clients may be at higher risk for contracting mpox.

So far, there’s no sign that clade 1 is spreading outside of central Africa, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a December risk assessment.


Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.

Source link

Daily Cartoon


More Posts

Health Officials Warn of Rise in Monkeypox Cases in North Carolina


Please enter donation amount below


Choose your membership level

$35 billed annually