Monkeypox may spread indefinitely at low levels, CDC report finds: 5 updates

Monkeypox eradication in the U.S. is unlikely in the near future, as experts anticipate low-level transmission will continue indefinitely, according to a CDC technical brief published Sept. 29. 

"Our current assessment for the most likely longer-term scenario is that the outbreak will remain concentrated in [men who have sex with men], with cases slowing over the coming weeks, and falling significantly over the next several months," the report said. "We have moderate confidence in this assessment. We note that low-level transmission could continue indefinitely," though the cumulative projection of how many cases may occur is unclear. 

The outbreak has slowed largely due to increased vaccine availability, behavior change,  and possibly growing immunity due to infection among those most at risk, the report said. 

Four more updates: 

1. Since May, 26,311 cases have been confirmed in the U.S. as of Oct. 5, CDC data shows. 

2. Pharmacists can now administer the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine. HHS secretary Xavior Becerra signed a declaration Sept. 30 to authorize any pharmacist, pharmacy intern or pharmacy tech who is licensed or certified to administer the shots. 

3. A swab study found high prevalence of the virus on the skin, throat and anus. The highest viral DNA loads were consistently found in skin and anal swabs and were less frequently detected in blood and urine samples. The findings, published Sept. 29 in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, are based on 356 samples collected from 50 men with a monkeypox infection and "suggest that transmission most likely occurs through direct body contact rather than through the respiratory route or contact with body fluids." 

4. Concerns over scarring and discoloration have kept some people from getting vaccinated, The Washington Post reported Oct. 6. Some individuals told the news outlet they held off on getting their second dose due to fears that the intradermal injection will leave them with a visible, irritating bump that could worsen the stigma of the disease.

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