The CDC is tracking 25 confirmed cases of monkeypox or the related “orthopoxvirus” in the U.S. including Georgia’s case.
The CDC said Friday that new genetic sequencing data indicates there are at least two distinct monkeypox outbreaks taking place outside Africa, a finding that suggests the spread is wider and has been happening longer than previously realized.
CDC officials said Friday most of the cases have been among men who have sex with men, but anyone can be infected through close contact with a sick person, their clothing or bedsheets. Newly reported cases include a woman who had traveled to West Africa, according to the CDC.
Currently, there is no specific treatment approved for monkeypox virus infections. However, antivirals developed for use in patients with smallpox may prove beneficial, according to the CDC. The federal government keeps a stockpile of vaccine that can be used to prevent an infection.
CDC officials said they are shipping Jynneos monkeypox vaccine to about 10 states that requested it. It would only be administered to a small number of Americans considered at high risk for the disease.
Nydam said Georgia has the ability to request and receive the vaccine quickly, but “active investigation has not identified the need for vaccine or antivirals, as of now.”
The virus is spread through close contact with people, animals or material infected with the virus. It enters the body through broken skin, the respiratory tract, the eyes, nose, and mouth, according to the CDC. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact. Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people, including during sex, as well as activities like kissing, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.
Early symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, back pain, muscle aches and low energy. The virus can go on to cause rash and lesions on the face or genitals. The lesions or papules, become blisters filled with white fluid.
The incubation period for monkeypox — the time from infection to symptoms — is usually seven to 14 days but can range from five to 21 days.