CDC confirms 2nd case of monkeypox in Minnesota
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed a second case of monkeypox in Minnesota.
“We’re watching it very closely, and for the general public, the concern is generally low. But we do want people to be aware this is circulating,” said Jennifer Heath with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).
MDH says the two cases identified in the state are men who traveled but are not connected.
The first case, contracted by someone who traveled to Europe, was confirmed Monday.
Health officials are urging people to learn the symptoms, which according to the World Health Organization (WHO), can start with a fever, intense headache, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, and fatigue, then lesions can develop.
“Right now we have plenty of capacity to do the tests that are coming in and as time goes on we’re going to have much more capacity,” Heath told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.
According to the CDC, people with known exposure to the virus, LGBTQIA+ communities, and those traveling to a country with confirmed cases are all at a higher risk of contracting monkeypox.
“It appears to happen because of close skin to skin, intimate contact from somebody who’s got a lesion, a monkeypox lesion, to somebody who doesn’t,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, an infectious diseases expert with the Mayo Clinic.
He explained monkeypox can also spread respiratory droplets and infected bedding or clothing. The risk of contracting the illness isn’t as severe as other viruses or diseases.
“Monkeypox is not as nearly as transmissible or dangerous as smallpox or even COVID for that matter,” Poland said in an interview.
“There are a number of cases in the LGBTQ community, and so we want to make sure Minnesotans are aware of that,” Heath stated, noting it’s “also really important to know anyone can get monkeypox.”
Federal health officials are now taking steps to try and slow the spread of the virus. Vaccination and testing efforts are being discussed by the CDC and Biden administration.
“Testing should be ubiquitous, widely available, and the administration has made a series of steps to make sure that happens. And let me be very clear, we have plenty of testing capacity, and we will continue to both expand that testing capacity … and make it easier and easier for clinicians to access that capacity,” said Dr. Ashish Jha from the Harvard Global Health Institute.
The Biden Administration announced this week it would send tens of thousands of the two-dose JYNNEOS vaccines to states and territories across the country. It will be rolled out in several phases. Health and Human Services are expected to immediately send 56,000 vaccines from the National Stockpile to states with the highest number of cases.
The JYNNEOS vaccine was approved by the FDA in 2019 for people 18 years old and older.
“Since we don’t have monkeypox circulating in the US typically, it wasn’t really used before this outbreak, and so it’s sort of the first time the vaccine is going to be more widely available, and the only supply at this point is through the federal government,” said Heath.
For now, MDH says it’s waiting to learn how many doses Minnesota will receive.
“Right now today, the recommendation is really for close contacts of cases, and we’ve only had two cases confirmed,” Heath said. “So technically, there aren’t a ton of people in Minnesota today that are eligible for a vaccine, and that’s what we’re waiting for to change and get more guidance and vaccine to push that forward.”
She added, “As soon as we know, we are ready to get it out to providers and give some guidance on how the vaccine should be used.”