Monkeypox numbers expected to rise due to increased testing, expert says

Chaz Miller Image
Tuesday, July 26, 2022
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The United States leads the world in monkeypox cases, according to the CDC. With that startling statistic, that number may climb as more access to testing widens.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are more than 3,400 cases of monkeypox currently in the United States.

Dr. Linda Yancey, who is an infectious disease expert with Memorial Hermann Health System, told ABC13 that number will rise in the coming weeks due to an increase in testing, but it's not something to get alarmed over.

"Our numbers are about to go up very substantially over the next few weeks (as testing goes up)," Yancey said.

Yancey said monkeypox has been spreading the quickest among men who have sex with men, but it's a disease that anyone can get through skin-to-skin contact, droplets in the air, or germs that linger on surfaces.

She said kids returning to school in the coming weeks are at risk of contracting the virus.

"This is a disease that affects children more severely than adults, so we do need to be mindful of that," explained Yancey. "The good news is all that we have been doing for COVID-19 mitigation is very effective against monkeypox."

Yancey said sanitizer is effective in killing the virus, and she also recommended sanitizing surfaces like shopping cart handles. She also said masking and social distancing are useful tools to consider as cases rise in the United States.

She said patients infected with monkeypox generally experience symptoms such as fatigue and chills before bumps and lesions begin forming around a week later.

So, as cases go up, how concerned should Americans be about monkeypox?

"Nobody needs to panic about monkeypox," she said. "Right now, of tens of thousands of cases worldwide, we have only had three deaths. This is not COVID. It is going to cause, in most people, a mild illness. That being said, nobody wants to get it. We do want to be cognizant and aware of the situation."

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