I recently reported that monkeypox cases have more than doubled over a week in California.
Now, as New York City clears away all the glitter from its recent gay pride parade, it is also seeing a doubling of cases over the past week.
As of Tuesday, July 5, 111 people in the city have tested positive for orthopoxvirus (see below) and all likely have monkeypox, according to the city’s Health Department. That is up from 55 cases a week earlier.
“Most of these people have had mild illness, have not been hospitalized and have recovered on their own,” the Health Department said on its website. “Even with mild illness, the rash and sores from monkeypox can be itchy and painful.”
The current outbreak is among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, the Health Department said, but anyone can get and spread monkeypox.
NYC public health officials indicate they will receive more vaccines to stem the outbreak.
The city launched a surprise vaccine clinic last month, but it lasted only hours before running out of enough doses of vaccine to handle walk-ins. That situation may improve shortly, though.
“We’re expecting to receive more doses of the monkeypox vaccine in coming days and will make appointments available soon,” the city tweeted.
Washington, D.C., is reporting an 8-fold increase in monkeypox cases.
Monkeypox cases in D.C. have grown eightfold in the past week, and cases are getting more severe, according to health officials.
As of Tuesday, there are 58 known cases of the viral disease in the District. City health officials reported seven people had the virus last Tuesday.
D.C. is among the regions of the country with the most monkeypox cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some of the latest patients to contract the virus have had to seek care at hospitals, officials said.
“We have had individuals in D.C. who have been hospitalized for pain control. This is not something that’s just bumps. It’s very painful rashes and legions on your body,” said Patrick Ashley, with the D.C. Department of Health.
Scientists have been avidly studying the new monkeypox strains. They’ve concluded the virus has mutated 12 times faster than the usual virus mutation rate.
The virus, which has infected more than 3,500 people in 48 countries since its detection outside Africa in May, may be more infectious due to dozens of new mutations. In all, the virus carries 50 new mutations not seen in previous strains detected from 2018 to 2019, according to a new study published June 24 in the journal Nature Medicine (opens in new tab). Scientists usually don’t expect viruses like monkeypox to gain more than one or two mutations each year, the study authors noted.
…As a large double-stranded DNA virus, monkeypox is much more able to correct replication errors than an RNA virus such as HIV, meaning that the current monkeypox strain should have really only accumulated a handful of mutations since it first started circulating in 2018. But, after collecting DNA from 15 monkeypox viral samples and reconstructing their genetic information, the researchers found that the real mutation rate was six to 12 times higher than they expected.
The massive jump in the monkey virus’s rate of mutation “is far more than one would expect considering previous estimates of the substitution rate for Orthopoxviruses,” the researchers wrote in the paper. “Our data reveals additional clues of ongoing viral evolution and potential human adaptation.”
Scientists speculate the virus has been adapting quickly due to humans, either during its spread through the European population or via animals (followed by a zoonotic transmission to humans).
Unfortunately, at the current transmission rates, the virus appears to be here to stay.DONATE
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