The United States could see more cases of monkeypox before the numbers drop, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said Friday.
“As testing intensifies, as information intensifies, we anticipate there will be more cases before there are fewer,” Walensky told The Washington Post.
The CDC does not currently have specific projections on the severity of the situation, Walensky added. “I don’t think we have a stable estimate now,” the manager said.
But the director noted that the United States detected two cases of monkeypox in children on Friday for the first time. The two cases are unrelated and likely the result of domestic transmission, the CDC said in a statement.
The agency said the children are in good health and are being treated. Both are fine, but have had contact with other people, and the CDC is monitoring that, Walensky added.
As of July 22, the United States had more than 2,800 total confirmed cases of monkeypox/orthopoxvirus, according to CDC data.
Dr Ashish Jha, White House COVID-19 response coordinator, said the government had delivered 300,000 doses of a monkeypox vaccine and was working to expedite shipment from Denmark of 7 86,000 additional doses.
He said there were already enough vaccines available to provide a first dose of vaccine to more than half of the eligible population in New York and more than 70% of the eligible population in Washington DC.
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that is usually transmitted through bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, and other contaminated materials. The disease usually results in fever, rashes and swollen lymph nodes.
The United States is still evaluating whether the monkeypox outbreak should be declared a public health emergency. “We are looking at ways in which the response could be enhanced, if appropriate, by declaring a public health emergency,” Jha said.