CDC releases monkeypox isolation guidance as cases near 6,000: 4 updates

With U.S. monkeypox cases now surpassing 5,800, the CDC has issued isolation and prevention practices for those infected. 

The guidance was issued Aug. 1 and recommends people with monkeypox remain in isolation for the full duration of their illness, which could last between two and four weeks. Based on available data, the CDC said monkeypox may spread from symptom onset "until all symptoms have resolved, including full healing of the rash with formation of a fresh layer of skin." 

The best way to prevent the spread is to remain fully isolated throughout the course of illness. However, in situations where a person is unable to remain isolated for the full duration of their illness, the CDC recommends avoiding close contact with people and animals, wearing a well-fitting mask, covering all parts of a rash, avoiding sharing clothing and utensils, and avoiding public transportation if leaving home is necessary for medical care or an emergency. 

Three more updates: 

1. The first monkeypox deaths outside of endemic countries have been reported. Over the weekend, Spain recorded two deaths, and Brazil and India each reported one death, according to an Aug. 1 update from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. There have been 10 deaths so far in the current outbreak, with 6 involving  people in Africa, where the virus is endemic. 

2. Illinois and California are the latest to declare monkeypox a public health emergency.
The declarations will unlock funding and enable the states to secure more vaccines, the governors said in announcing the move. Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker's office said the emergency declaration will allow the state's health department "to expand vaccine and testing capacities" and "will aid in facilitating the complicated logistics and transportation of vaccines across the state to reach the most impacted communities efficiently." Similarly, California Gov. Gavin Newsom's office said the proclamation supports efforts "to coordinate a whole-of-government response to monkeypox, seek additional vaccines and lead outreach and education efforts on accessing vaccines and treatment." Illinois and California join New York in issuing the emergency declarations. The three states make up those with the most monkeypox cases and currently account for about 47 percent of U.S. cases. 

3. White House names monkeypox coordinator. The Biden administration has selected Robert Fenton Jr. to lead the nation's monkeypox response, The Washington Post reported Aug. 2. Mr. Fenton has worked at the Federal Emergency Management Agency since 1996, currently serving as a regional administrator. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he helped launch coronavirus vaccination sites across the country. Demetre Daskalakis, MD, will serve as a deputy to Mr. Fenton, the White House said. Dr. Daskalakis is the director of the division of HIV prevention at the CDC and former New York City health official. 

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