U.S. confirms 9 monkeypox cases in 7 states

WASHINGTON, May 26 (Reuters) – The United States said on Thursday it had identified nine cases of monkeypox in seven states, including some in people who had no recent international travel history.

The nine cases were confirmed in Massachusetts, Florida, Utah, Washington, California, Virginia and New York on Wednesday, the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC) told reporters.

Most of the infections detected worldwide so far are not serious. Many, but not all, have been reported in men who have sex with men. Symptoms include fever and a characteristic bumpy rash. Read more

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All of the U.S. cases “involve gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said at a press briefing. Walensky advocated an approach “guided by science, not stigma.”

More than 20 countries where monkeypox is not endemic have reported outbreaks of the viral disease, with around 200 confirmed cases and more than 100 suspected cases of infection, mostly in Europe. The World Health Organization has urged countries to increase surveillance for monkeypox. Read more

The first case of monkeypox in the United States was reported last week in Massachusetts.

Some of the nine cases identified Wednesday have recent histories of international travel to areas with active monkeypox outbreaks, but “others do not,” the CDC director said Thursday.

The disease, which occurs mainly in West and Central Africa, is a viral infection that was first recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo in the 1970s.

“We shouldn’t be surprised to see more cases being reported in the United States in the coming days,” Raj Panjabi, White House senior director for health security and biodefense, said during the press briefing.

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington; Editing by Diane Craft, Bill Berkrot and David Gregorio

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