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CDC launches Emergency Activation Center to combat growing monkeypox outbreak

CDC Launches Emergency Activation Center to Fight Growing Monkeypox Outbreak in US as Case Number Hit 244, Adding 43 Over Pride Weekend

  • The CDC will deploy 300 staff members for monkeypox response as part of a new emergency activation center
  • The country has recorded 244 cases of the virus so far, though the real numbers are feared to be higher as it circulates undetected.
  • Over the weekend, the country registered 43 cases of the virus, the highest number ever recorded during the outbreak so far
  • The World Health Organization declined to declare a global health emergency due to the rise of the virus in more than 50 countries around the world

The CDC has launched an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to combat the country’s nascent monkeypox outbreak, the agency said Tuesday.

It comes as the nation’s case count reached 244, including 43 added to the ledger after the weekend. No US deaths have been linked to the virus.

Some experts fear the actual numbers may be even higher than reported, as the virus is spreading uncirculated, as those infected may lack signals that they have it and the country’s testing infrastructure is relatively limited.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched the EOC to serve as a focal point in coordinating response to the virus in an effort to expand response to the virus.

Such a move indicates that the agency is concerned that the outbreak could continue to grow and even spiral out of control – as in some European countries – if the response is not strengthened.

The map above shows where cases of monkey pox have been detected in America.  On the right, the third column of the table shows the number of cases registered in the past two days

The map above shows where cases of monkey pox have been detected in America. On the right, the third column of the table shows the number of cases registered in the past two days

The CDC has launched an emergency activation center to combat the rise of monkeypox in the US.  It will have more than 300 dedicated employees (file photo)

The CDC has launched an emergency activation center to combat the rise of monkeypox in the US. It will have more than 300 dedicated employees (file photo)

“Today, the CDC continues to lean forward with an aggressive public health response to the monkeypox outbreak by activating the Emergency Operations Center (EOC),” the agency wrote in a statement.

Monkeypox ‘not a global emergency,’ says WHO

The World Health Organization said the escalating monkeypox outbreak in more than 50 countries requires close monitoring but does not justify declaring it a global health emergency.

In a statement Saturday, a WHO emergency committee said many aspects of the outbreak were “unusual” and acknowledged that monkeypox – which is endemic in some African countries – has been neglected for years.

“While some members expressed differing views, the committee decided by consensus to advise the Director-General of WHO that it should be determined at this stage that the outbreak does not constitute a global emergency,” the WHO said in a statement.

The WHO nevertheless pointed to the “emergency” of the outbreak and said controlling its spread would require an “intensive” response.

The commission said the outbreak “should be closely monitored and assessed after a few weeks.”

But it would recommend a reassessment before then if certain new developments emerge – such as cases involving sex workers; spread to other countries or within countries that have already had cases; increased severity of cases; or an increasing rate of spread.

“This action puts the CDC command center at the forefront of monitoring and coordinating the emergency response to monkeypox and the mobilization of additional CDC personnel and resources. CDC’s activation of the EOC will enable the agency to further increase operational support to respond to the evolving challenges of the outbreak.”

The agency says more than 300 employees will work within the EOC.

It comes just after the last weekend of Pride month, which many feared would lead to outbreaks of the virus that has spread to communities of gay and bisexual men around the world.

It is likely that many cases of monkeypox also go undiagnosed due to lack of testing, or be written off as another infection.

Last weekend, America registered its largest two-day rise in monkeypox infections since the outbreak was discovered last month.

The rash-causing virus is also likely spreading under the radar.

Several cases are now not linked to a previously known infection or international travel, and experts have warned that poor surveillance practices leave the population vulnerable.

Nationwide, California has the largest outbreak, with 67 cases, followed by New York with 37 and Florida and Illinois with 27 each.

Worldwide there are now more than 4,000 cases in about 60 countries, but so far only one death has been recorded in a person from Nigeria.

While cases are currently mostly detected in men who have sex with men, there are fears that this will spread to other groups more at risk for the disease, such as the immunocompromised.

The disease is mainly transmitted through skin-to-skin contact with infectious lesions, leading to concerns that it may also be entrenched as a sexually transmitted disease.

Over the weekend, the World Health Organization declined to declare the virus a global health emergency.

In a statement Saturday, the emergency committee said many aspects of the outbreak were “unusual” and acknowledged that monkeypox – which is endemic in some African countries – has been neglected for years.

Officials urge gay and bisexual men to be aware of any new lesions, rashes or scabs and contact a sexual health clinic

Officials urge gay and bisexual men to be aware of any new lesions, rashes or scabs and contact a sexual health clinic

“While some members expressed differing views, the committee decided by consensus to advise the Director-General of WHO that it should be determined at this stage that the outbreak does not constitute a global emergency,” the WHO said in a statement.

The WHO nevertheless pointed to the “emergency” of the outbreak and said controlling its spread would require an “intensive” response.

The commission said the outbreak “should be closely monitored and assessed after a few weeks.”

But it would recommend a reassessment before then if certain new developments emerge – such as cases involving sex workers; spread to other countries or within countries that have already had cases; increased severity of cases; or an increasing rate of spread.

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