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The Nigerian doctor who treated the 2017 outbreak of monkeypox in Nigeria told Fox News in an interview that the virus is now “showing all the signs of turning into a sexually transmitted disease,” with more cases emerging in the United States and the Biden administration describing the outbreak. Public health emergency.
Infectious Diseases Doctor Dr. Demi Ogwena treated the first monkeypox case In Nigeria for nearly 40 years. That year in 2017, an 11-year-old boy came to him with a rash that looked like chickenpox.
The doctor said he had ‘never seen a case of monkeypox in my life – me [had] “I just saw the pictures,” Ogwena told Fox News.
Doctors discovered the first documented cases of monkeypox in humans in the 1970s among children from Congo, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Before that, scientists discovered the first cases among monkeys at an animal facility in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1958 — and dubbed the disease “monkeypox.”
But in 2017, Dr. Ogwena – a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Niger Delta University in Nigeria – noticed that the 11-year-old boy had not been in contact with animals. The virus spread among his family members, infecting his uncle at first, then it spread to his mother, father and younger brother.
After sending samples from boy pests Dr. Ogwena confirmed his suspicions in a laboratory in Senegal: The boy contracted the first case of monkeypox in Nigeria in 38 years.
The outbreak in 2017 grew to 200 confirmed cases in Nigeria. Since then, monkeypox virus has gone from a rare disease to endemic in Africa – with cases prevalent mainly among young men and gay and bisexual men.
While the virus is not an endemic epidemic in the United States, Dr. Ogwena told Fox News that in his opinion it is showing signs of becoming an “STI” – meaning it’s spreading through the US population like other diseases like chlamydia and gonorrhea. or HIV.
The CDC told Fox News that although the virus can be sexually transmitted, it has not reached the status of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
In 2021, the United States confirmed two cases of monkeypox virus from travelers from Nigeria.
The CDC cited contract-tracing efforts and “strong collaboration between the CDC, state and local health departments, airline partners and airports” as reasons to contain the spread.
Now, less than a year later, monkeypox cases are increasing.
There are 14,115 confirmed cases of monkeypox (orthopoxvirus) in the United States as of Thursday afternoon, August 18, 2022, according to the CDC.
In response to an inquiry, the CDC told Fox News that although the virus can be sexually transmitted, it has not reached the status of a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
“It shows us that the virus is evolving and adapting more to the human host,” said Dr. Demi Ogwena.
“[The] The current outbreak has led to questions about whether monkeypox is a sexually transmitted disease (STI). Monkeypox can be more accurately described as “sexually transmitted”. In other words, sex is one way monkeypox can spread, but not the only way.”
She added that, “In the current outbreak of monkeypox, the virus is spread primarily through close contact with someone who has monkeypox. This includes contact with monkeypox sores or respiratory secretions by the close and continuous skin-to-skin contact that occurs during sex. .”
As cases surge, states scrambled to distribute vaccines and boost testing efforts as HHS expands monkeypox vaccine to include Over 1.1 million doses.
The Biden administration is looking to cut doses, making the vaccine one-fifth effective.
On August 9, 2022, the White House issued the following statement, in part, on the matter.
“HHS has made a Section 564 announcement, which allows the Food and Drug Administration to use its authority to allow health care providers to administer up to five times the number of vaccine doses per vial of JYNNEOS vaccine.”
He continued, “Following the declaration of a public health emergency last week, today HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra issued a decision under Section 564 of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act proclamation permitting the use of authorization for emergency use of vaccines for the prevention of monkeypox and the prevention of severe disease from the virus. Paves This action is the way for the federal government to get up to five times the amount of doses given from a single vial of the JYNNEOS vaccine.”
“The best way to contain this risk is not through vaccination,” said Dr. Robert Mallon. “By contact tracing, abstinence, and isolation until these people are no longer contagious.”
He continued, “The EUA now allows 0.1ml of the JYNNEOS vaccine to be administered between the layers of the skin (intradermal), instead of the 0.5ml of the vaccine administered subcutaneously (subcutaneously).
The distribution of vaccines is one factor in halting the outbreak of monkeypox. Other experts point to other measures.
Dr. Robert Malone, co-inventor of the mRNA vaccinetold Fox News that he felt that vaccination should not be the first line of defense.
“The best way to contain this risk is not through vaccination,” Malone said. “By contact tracing, abstinence, and isolation until these people are no longer contagious.”
He also said, “We have no idea how effective this vaccine really is. It was not designed for monkeypox … What is being done now is very, very similar to what happened early in the coronavirus crisis.”
Public health officials are also looking to combat the stigma surrounding the name of the disease and the affected population.
“Names should be given to newly identified viruses, related diseases and viral variants with the aim of avoiding causing offense to any cultural, social, national, regional, occupational or ethnic group…”
The World Health Organization is looking to rename monkeypox, issuing a statement that reads: “Current best practice is that newly identified viruses, related diseases and viral variants should be given names with the aim of avoiding causing any cultural, social, national or regional offence. occupational or ethnic groups, and to minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare.”
Regarding the monkeypox outbreak, Dr. Malone also told Fox News: “It’s a very small global group… It is a sexually transmitted disease Within that global group of people who often have very multiple sexual partners.”
He also said, “In public health, I think we have to be really careful about situations where we limit our ability to communicate effectively with people who are at the highest risk.”
Despite the increase in the number of cases, American voters aren’t worried about monkeypox, according to a Fox News poll. Fifty-four percent of registered voters polled August 6-9 said they weren’t worried about monkeypox.
However, there is an urgent need among the global community to contain the virus.
“It is an infection that has spread very quickly in more than 50 countries in less than two months and is still spreading,” said Dr. Ogwena.
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