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Monkeypox Outbreak: CDC Activates Emergency Operations

By Aleena Kuriakose

Highlights:

  • CDC activates emergency operations after monkeypox outbreak.

  • Monkeypox is a virus that is part of the same family as smallpox.

Introduction

Monkeypox is a rare disease that is caused by infection with the monkeypox virus which is part of the same family of viruses as smallpox. However, recently, there has been an ongoing outbreak of the viral disease, confirmed in May 2022 and originating in the United Kingdom. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring monkeypox cases detected in the United States. Just a few days ago, the CDC declared the activation of its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in response to the outbreak.


According to the CDC, "the activation of the EOC "allows the agency to further increase operational support for the response to meet the outbreak's evolving challenges"

What is Monkeypox?


Monkeypox is a virus that was first discovered in 1958 after two outbreaks of disease occurred in monkeys studied for research. However, the source of the disease is unknown, but it is predicted that non-human primates, such as monkeys, may harbor the disease and infect people. The name of the virus is a misnomer where the natural hosts are most likely rodents and other small mammals.


Symptoms of the virus include:

  • Fever

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches and backache

  • Swollen lymph nodes

  • Chills

  • Exhaustion

  • A rash that is similar to pimples or blisters that can form on the face, inside the mouth, and on other parts of the body, such as the hands, feet, chest, genitals, or anus.



How did the 2022 Outbreak Occur?


The first recent case was reported on May 18, 2022 when a U.S. resident tested positive for monkeypox after returning to the U.S. from Canada. By May 25, there were 226 confirmed cases in 21 countries, where several confirmed cases were in the United States. Most of the cases are found in gay men. To address the outbreak, the U.S. has a new smallpox vaccine, which is very protective against monkeypox and can prevent disease if given to a potentially infected person.


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