Washington, July 27 (IANS) The US is likely to see the largest monkeypox cases in the world within days, as per a report.
According to data from the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the country detected 3,487 cases of the rash-causing virus as of Tuesday, behind only Spain with 3,596 confirmed infections.
But by population, which takes into account the US having seven-times more people, America has about one case per 100,000 people compared to Spain’s tally of seven per 100,000, the Daily Mail reported. Its infection rate is also below many other European countries including the UK and Germany (both at three per 100,000).
Further, the increase in test, after a slow start is also likely to detect more cases.
“It was ‘reasonable’ to suggest America’s cases tally would ‘outpace’ those in other nations,” Dr Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, said.
He added the surge was in part down to the surge in testing, which was detecting monkeypox in areas where it had previously spread under the radar.
New York City currently has the largest outbreak at 1,040 confirmed infections according to its Department of Health. The CDC said the state has 990 infections at present. It was followed by California, at 356, and Illinois, with 341.
Only four states — Maine, Montana, Vermont and Wyoming — are yet to detect a single infection with the disease, the report said.
Experts fear the disease has already spilled over into more vulnerable groups, such as children under eight years old that health officials say are at high risk of severe disease. Two children — in California — have tested positive for monkeypox to date, the CDC said.
America’s response to monkeypox was slammed for being too slow to roll out tests and vaccinations at the start of the outbreak, especially to gay or bisexual men where most cases are being recorded. While no deaths have been registered to date, several patients have been hospitalised with the infections.
“The US was slow to kick off widespread testing, and so now is detecting transmission chains that have been carrying on uninterrupted for some time. We don’t know how much increased awareness, especially in the core communities of gay and bisexual men, will slow transmission down,” Hanage said.
Testing has also been ramped up after it was slammed early on for the stringent guidance on which samples could be tested leading to just 23 swabs being checked for the virus, a day early in the outbreak, the report said.