CDC issues health alert on severe monkeypox illness: 5 updates

In a health alert published Sept. 29, the CDC said "severe manifestations" of monkeypox have been reported in the nation's current outbreak, and urged providers to look out for risk factors for severe disease. 

People with HIV or other immunocompromising conditions are at a higher risk for severe manifestations of monkeypox, the agency said, adding that anyone with a suspected or confirmed monkeypox should be tested for HIV. 

Severe manifestations have included atypical or persistent rash with coalescing or necrotic lesions; lesions in sensitive areas that result in severe pain interfering with daily activities; and the involvement of multiple organ systems and associated conditions, such as encephalitis and myocarditis. The CDC alert came the same day that Ohio reported the death of an individual who was infected with monkeypox, making it the nation's third known death of a patient with the disease. 

Four more updates: 

1. Total confirmed cases have reached 25,613 as of Sept. 29, CDC data shows. Federal health officials have said they are optimistic that the U.S. will be able to eradicate the disease as cases decline. 

2. A single dose of the Jynneos vaccine offers protection against infection, the first real-world data suggests. Early data from 32 states between July 31 through Sept. 3 found unvaccinated people at risk of monkeypox infection were 14 times more likely to be infected compared to people who were vaccinated, according to the CDC. 

"These new data provide us with a level of cautious optimism that the vaccine is working as intended," CDC director Rochelle Walensky, MD, said during a Sept. 28 update. While the early data indicates a single dose offers substantial protection, the vaccine is intended to be administered as two doses, 28 days apart. 

"It is for that reason that we continue, even in light of these promising data, to strongly recommend people receive two doses of Jynneos vaccine spaced out 28 days apart to ensure durable, lasting immune protection against monkeypox," Dr. Walensky said. 

3. The first case tied to the global outbreak was likely seen two months earlier than the first reported. In a Sept. 28 report, the World Health Organization and the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said the earliest known case in the U.K. had a specimen date of March 7, though the country's health agency confirmed the first case on May 7. 

4. Monkeypox renaming efforts stall. The WHO began accepting suggestions to rename the disease in August, through a decision has yet to be made. A WHO spokesperson told Bloomberg the agency expects a report and recommendations soon, adding that the normal process for exploring new disease names typically occurs "over the course of one or more annual cycles of review." 

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