CDC Issues Health Alert for Fast-Spreading Strain of Monkeypox

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given a health alert warning to clinicians and health departments across the United States concerning the emergence and spread of a deadly subtype of the monkeypox virus, known as Clade I, primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). This alert was issued as part of the CDC’s Health Alert Network (HAN), highlighting the need for increased vigilance, particularly among travelers returning from the DRC.

The Clade I outbreak of monkeypox has not been reported in the United States, but with 22 out of 26 provinces in Congo affected, there is concern about the possibility of the virus appearing in travelers. Healthcare professionals are urged to be prepared to recognize and diagnose symptoms of Clade I monkeypox, which are similar to other forms of the virus, including a widespread rash and lymphadenopathy.

The CDC also stressed the importance of submitting lesion specimens for clade-specific testing in such cases. Vaccines like JYNNEOS and ACAM2000 are expected to be effective against both Clade I and Clade II MPXV infections, even though vaccine coverage in the U.S. is low. Medical experts are encouraged to recommend vaccination for all eligible patients.

In a separate travel advisory, the CDC has advised travelers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo to exercise caution, including avoiding contact with ill individuals, maintaining a distance from wild animals, and refraining from handling or consuming game meat.

A deadly, fast-spreading strain of the monkeypox virus has the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on high alert. The World Health Organization reports that this variant of the virus, which causes the severe disease known as mpox, can be fatal for up to 10% of those infected. There is concern that the virus variant may be more virulent and present a risk if it adapts better to human-to-human transmission.

Last year, a less-deadly variant of the monkeypox virus known as Clade II spread worldwide, infecting more than 31,000 Americans and resulting in 55 deaths. However, the rapid spread of the deadlier Clade I subtype of the virus has been reported by health officials in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the disease has spread to 22 of the DRC’s 26 provinces.

In the same week, CDC Director Dr. Mandy Cohen issued a new alert for the COVID “Pirola” variant and recommended masking up for those who are feeling symptoms.

This news should increase the sense of urgency for Americans to take necessary health precautions, especially when traveling to and from affected regions. It is important for individuals to stay informed about the latest health advisories and to follow the recommended safety guidelines to protect themselves and others from these potentially deadly viruses.


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