The federal government has declared monkeypox a public health emergency and Missouri raised its threat level on August 18, 2022.
Both actions are applauded by Dr. Mati Hlatshwayo Davis, director of the city’s health department.
“Usually such statements mean that additional resources will be available to help deal with an outbreak,” Hlatshwayo Davis said in a statement.
“Demand for vaccines against the virus has significantly exceeded current supplies and the Ministry of Health is hoping [the] The statement is a signal that more help is on the way to state and local governments.
Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus, which is part of the family of viruses that includes smallpox. Since vaccine supplies are limited, health officials have taken precautionary measures to prevent the spread of monkeypox in Missouri.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]. monkeypox usually appears one to two weeks after infection, but sometimes it can extend up to three weeks.
It often begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, then progresses to a rash. It can be spread through intimate physical contact; touching personal items such as clothing or linens; skin-to-skin contact with rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids; or respiratory droplets transmitted by kissing or coughing. The illness usually lasts two to four weeks.
The epidemic mainly affected men who have sex with men and its spread was mainly found to be transmitted during sexual intercourse. Health officials have said those who participate in high-risk sexual behaviors such as multiple partners and transactional sex should be prioritized for the vaccine.
As with COVID-19 and other treatable diseases, the monkeypox virus has a disproportionate impact on minority populations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data from 43 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, revealing that African Americans account for 26% of all monkeypox cases, compared to 12% of the US population. .
The CDC also noted that Hispanics accounted for 28% of cases despite making up 19% of the population.
The virus, however, does not yet appear to be spreading widely in the St. Louis area. As of August 18, the CDC has reported 24 cases in Missouri, up from 18 the previous week. There have been eight confirmed cases in St. Louis County and 11 in St. Louis according to city and county health departments.
Dr. Joseph Cherabie is a physician at Barnes-Jewish Hospital who specializes in sexual health care with a focus on the LGBTQIA community. Last week, Cherabie told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that more and more people are showing up to area ERs or clinics with painful lesions associated with monkeypox or concerns they have been exposed to.
This week, the Biden-Harris administration announced it would increase the US monkeypox vaccine supply by making an additional 1.8 million doses of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine available for orders beginning Monday. August 22.
With news of additional vaccine doses, administration officials said:
“Since the first case was confirmed in the United States, the administration has led a whole-of-government response to make testing, vaccines, and treatments more widely available to communities across the country and has worked with the LGBTQI+ community to provide information and resources directly to communities most at risk of contracting the virus.
Davis expressed cautious optimism that the government would release additional monkeypox vaccines:
“Without a formative plan from the DHSS (Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services), that gives me hope, but we definitely won’t be able to plan or announce an expansion until then,” she said. declared.
“Hopefully this announcement translates quickly into doses available for DHSS and subsequently for us.”
Sylvester Brown Jr. is the first Diaconess Fellow of American St. Louis.