Vaccine remains in short supply as US monkeypox cases grow

Specimen tube for monkeypox test
Specimen tube for monkeypox test

Tatiana Buzmakova / iStock

The monkeypox virus outbreak in the United States continues to grow, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists 767 US monkeypox cases, an increase of 67. New York has the most cases, with 153, followed by California with 136 and Illinois with 91.

As cases grow, monkeypox vaccine continues to be in short supply at the local level, including in Chicago and New York, which were the first cities to receive large shipments of doses from the US government.

CDC-Mayo testing partnership

The demand for the two-dose vaccine is growing in gay communities, as most cases in the US are still being identified in men who have sex with men (MSM). The demand for testing has also increased, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to partner with Mayo Clinic Laboratories to begin conducting tests for the virus.

In a statement today, CDC Director Rochelle Walensky, MD, MPH, said, "The ability of commercial laboratories to test for monkeypox is an important pillar in our comprehensive strategy to combat this disease. This will not only increase testing capacity but also make it more convenient for providers and patients to access tests by using existing provider-to-laboratory networks."

The Mayo Clinic will take samples from across the country and be able to process 10,000 samples per week, similar to Labcorp, which announced it would begin processing the same number of tests last week.

Still some fear the push for testing is too late, and, in an eerie recall of the COVID-19 pandemic, a slow rollout of testing will help the disease spread more widely, experts said.

Global total surpasses 9,000

Global cases have reached 9,069. The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) says the country now has 1,552 confirmed monkeypox cases, 201 of which are new. Of the UK cases 1,482 have been confirmed in England.

"It's concerning that we are continuing to see the outbreak grow and we urge the public to do all they can to help us slow the spread, Meera Chand, MBBS, UKHSA director of clinical and emerging infections, said in a press statement. "If you've recently had new or multiple sexual partners, please be vigilant to the symptoms of monkeypox, and be aware that many of the cases we're seeing are finding only a single, or few, lesions."

Transmission in Europe continues to be primarily among MSM. An observational study yesterday in the Journal of Infection of 48 male monkeypox patients in Madrid reveals that 87.5% are MSM, and the most prevalent symptoms were the presence of skin lesions (93.8%), weakness (66.6%), and fever (52.1%).

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