OREANDA-NEWS “I remain concerned about the number of cases, in an increasing number of countries, that have been reported,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the meeting.According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2,322 cases of monkeypox have been detected in the US in the present outbreak, and 15,378 worldwide.

While the total number continues to rise, Tedros noted on Thursday that in several countries, case numbers have fallen.Fighting StigmaHowever, critics have noted that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) issuing a warning to gay and bisexual men in May about monkeypox, which had spread in a cluster of queer men in Britain, has led to a widespread mischaracterization of the outbreak as one affecting queer men exclusively or primarily.Those rules, often created by health care providers, require that a patient be a man who has sex with other men before they will be tested for monkeypox, even if they are showing key symptoms of the disease, such as skin lesions.The CDC issued new guidance last month that explicitly stated the monkeypox virus (MPXV) is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI) and is likely spreading due to the close physical contact that happens during sex. The British National Health Service (NHS) now also explicitly states that “Anyone can get monkeypox.

Though currently most cases have been in men who are gay, bisexual or have sex with other men, so it's particularly important to be aware of the symptoms if you're in these groups.”Rush for Vaccines, But Not for VaccinationThe Florida Department of Health revealed on Thursday that with 208 confirmed and probable cases, the state has nearly 10% of the US’ recorded cases of monkeypox, with the highest concentration in Broward County. According to WPBF, the state government has secured 25,000 doses of the vaccine.With tracing the line of transmission becoming so difficult, US officials have moved toward distributing monkeypox vaccines, but are still restricting them to people exposed instead of mass distribution. Health officials said last week that more than 100,000 vaccine doses were expected to arrive in the US from places like Denmark in the coming days, with at least 5 million more ordered for the coming months.It’s unclear which vaccines are being obtained, although it’s likely Jynneos, a vaccine made by Bavarian Nordic in Denmark. Jynneos is licensed in the United States to be administered to adults for either smallpox or monkeypox, and researchers believe the smallpox vaccine could work well against monkeypox since the diseases are so closely related. Indeed, the smallpox vaccine is derived from vaccinia, or cowpox virus, another member of the poxvirus family alongside monkeypox.However, in May, Bavarian Nordic CEO Paul Chaplin told NBC "the [US] government have more than a million doses of Jynneos, liquid frozen, at the Strategic National Stockpile or stored in our facility in Europe.”

In addition, the US keeps a national stockpile of 100 million smallpox vaccines, the CDC said at the time.Monkeypox Now More Common Outside AfricaThe virus is endemic to West Africa, being first discovered in 1971 and typically associated with contact with infected bushmeat. However, with more strains of the virus having been detected outside Africa than inside it, and media imagery the world over showing mostly black-skinned people afflicted with the disease, the WHO took up a petition by a group of African doctors last month to change its “discriminatory and stigmatizing name.”No deaths have been recorded from monkeypox in rich nations, but in West Africa, some strains can have a mortality rate of as high as 10%. The virus stays dormant for between 5 and 21 days after infection. Symptoms of infection are mostly similar to smallpox, although the lesions are fewer and smaller and patients’ lymph nodes commonly swell up. When symptoms appear, they include fever, headache, muscle aches, and the classic lesions that spread across the skin, fill with pus, and burst.Symptoms can persist for more than four weeks before recovery but often disappear after two. Scarring from the lesions is common.