Health representatives request that more information be provided about monkeypox

Authorities assure that getting infected with monkeypox is very rare.

Photo: Courtesy of CDC/Getty Images

Health representatives from the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) called on local and federal health authorities to become more involved in raising awareness of monkey pox cases and their spread.

They announced at a news conference Monday that recent cases of monkeypox were found at AHF clinics in Los Angeles and South Florida. Last week, research was released showing that monkeypox was found in semen.

After analyzing the epidemiology it was revealed that the monkey pox is predominantly affecting homosexual men or men who have sex with men in the richest countries. At the same time, the AHF has seen an increase in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), primarily around syphilis, explained Michael Weinstein, president of the AHF.

“We need to increase the vaccination effort and we need to identify if there are sufficient amounts of the vaccine that can be used to prevent monkeypox and then we need to educate the community on how to access it,” he added.

He explained that one of his concerns is that the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has not made public statements or engaged the community to address this issue.

Dr. Carl Millner, regional medical director of internal medicine at AHF, said a few days ago a couple, both 39, returned from their trip to Madrid, Dubai and London.

One of them arrived at a Los Angeles clinic with symptoms of syphilis including fever and chills. He was treated for syphilis, but soon after developed a skin rash, initially believed to be a secondary result of syphilis.

“A couple of days later, he had oozing marks and on June 14 we talked to the Department of Public Health because we immediately suspected that it was someone who might have come into contact with monkeypox,” Millner explained. “We isolated him, we talked to him, they interviewed him while he was in the clinic and we collected the specimens… Within two days he was positive.”

This man’s partner also came to the clinic a few days earlier thinking he had contracted HIV. A rapid test was done and it was confirmed that he did not have HIV or syphilis, but apparently he had been treated for syphilis previously and his symptoms had subsided.

“After I saw him he started getting the prototypical rash which includes a rash on his hands and feet and diffuse pockmarks, fever, chills, night sweats and, the most prominent feature of both early in the illness is significant; swollen glands throughout the body,” the doctor said.

Both were confirmed with monkeypox.

not easily transmitted

Dr. Stuart Burstin, AHF’s acting national director of infectious diseases, said there are currently 1,000 cases reported a year, but he believes there are many more cases that are not being reported.

However, he assured that getting infected with monkeypox is very rare. It does not spread easily between people without close contact.

“This is not like Covid where you stand next to someone who is infected and you get infected. Therefore, the risk to the general population is low,” she stated. “What we have to do, and I hope we can, is educate people so that the risk stays low.”

Infection occurs through semen, skin or saliva. Smallpox incubation usually takes 7 to 14 days, but there have been cases where it has taken up to 21 days. It recommends that the infected person isolate themselves and use personal protective equipment (PPE) when they have contact with other people.

Burstin added that the majority of monkeypox cases are currently in Europe, with the UK leading the number infected, but it is also scattered in many other places.

“Just because the numbers are lower in the United States, as of a few days ago, we have 113 cases, they may be more underestimated because it takes time to diagnose, confirm and report,” he explained.

Although most cases are in Europe, this is not going to stay there as people are traveling again and smallpox can be transferred.

“So this is not a problem for Los Angeles or New York. It’s everywhere because people travel now. If this only happened in small towns in Africa, where there was little communication, it would stay there, but now it’s in an area where there’s a lot more travel,” Burstein said.

For this reason, AHF calls on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DPH, and other health departments across the country to review and promote condom use programs to prevent communicable diseases as soon as possible. sexual and unwanted pregnancies.