HomeAmericasMonkeypox Has Now Officially Reached Its 50th State

Monkeypox Has Now Officially Reached Its 50th State

Monkeypox has now been found in all 50 U.S. states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after Wyoming confirmed its first case of the virus Monday.

Dr. Alexia Harrist, the Wyoming state epidemiologist, said the risk of monkeypox spreading in the state remains low.

“Because monkeypox spreads through close, intimate contact we do not believe the risk for the virus is now a higher concern for the local community or for most people in Wyoming,” Harrist said in a statement attached to the announcement of the case. “Monkeypox does not spread easily like familiar viruses such as influenza or COVID-19.”

Harrist encouraged residents deemed at risk of contracting monkeypox to get vaccinated. CDC data as of Sunday shows the majority of monkeypox cases in the U.S. have been found in men aged 31 to 35.

The federal agency recommends vaccination for those exposed to monkeypox and those likely to contract it. The CDC said while most cases have been found in men who have sex with men, others — irrespective of sexual orientation — could also be at risk if they’ve been in close contact with a known case.

“We do want to prevent further spread within our state as much as possible,” Harrist said. “That’s why we will recommend vaccination for people who have been exposed to monkeypox and also for people who may be more likely to get monkeypox based on the current outbreak and how it has been spreading.”

The CDC had reported a total of 15,433 U.S. cases as of Monday. New York state topped the list with 2,910 cases, followed by California with 2,663.

The White House, which has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, last week urged states to adopt a new vaccination protocol that would give patients one-fifth as much per shot in an intradermal injection method rather than the traditional full dose. New York state on Monday announced it will adopt the recommendation.

The Department of Health and Human Services has started making an additional 1.8 million doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine available to order this week for states that adopt the protocol.

“Our primary goal is to prevent the spread of this virus by increasing the immunity of as many at-risk individuals as possible,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett. “This latest delivery of vaccine vials from the federal government, delivered by the newly authorized method of administration, will mean more vaccine doses for more people.”

HHS has also said it will be making monkeypox vaccines available for large LGBTQ pride events.

The CDC director on Wednesday announced a massive “reset” overhaul following criticisms over its handling of both the COVID and monkeypox outbreaks.

Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House COVID-19 response coordinator under former President Donald Trump, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday she found it troubling the U.S. did not learn from its COVID mistakes in handling the monkeypox outbreak.

“Those mistakes were repeated with monkeypox,” Birx said. “Not adequate testing early on, not making tests available in every community that you knew was at risk.”

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