The United States may see more cases of monkeypox before the numbers drop, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) director Rochelle Walensky said on Friday.
“With the scaling up of testing, with the scaling up of information, we expect there will be more cases before there are fewer,” Walensky told The Washington Post.
The CDC currently has no specific forecasts about how serious the situation could be, Walensky added. “I don’t think we have a stable estimate now,” the director said.
But the director did note that the United States on Friday discovered two cases of monkeypox in children for the first time. The two cases are unrelated and likely result from household transmission, the CDC said in a statement.
The agency said the children are in good health and are being treated. Both are fine, but they had contact with other people, and the CDC is monitoring that, Walensky added.
As of July 22, the United States has a total of more than 2,800 confirmed cases of monkeypox/orthopox viruses, according to CDC data.
dr. Ashish Jha, White House Covid-19 response coordinator, said the government has delivered 300,000 doses of a monkeypox vaccine and is working to expedite the shipment from Denmark of 7.86,000 additional doses.
He said there is already enough vaccine available to provide a first vaccine dose to more than half of the eligible population in New York City and more than 70 percent of the eligible population in Washington D.C.
Monkeypox is a rare viral disease usually transmitted through bodily fluids, respiratory droplets, and other contaminated materials. The disease usually results in fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes.
The United States is still evaluating whether the monkeypox outbreak should be declared a public health emergency. “We are looking at ways to improve response, if any, by declaring a public health emergency,” Jha said.