Here’s a look at monkeypox in the United States. In 2022, an outbreak was declared a public health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). The virus originated in Africa and is a cousin of the smallpox virus.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Monkeypox is a poxvirus. It generally causes pimples or blister-like lesions and flu-like symptoms, such as fever. The disease is rarely fatal.
Monkeypox is spread through close contact. This includes direct physical contact with the lesions, as well as “respiratory secretions” shared through face-to-face interaction and touching objects contaminated by the monkey’s lesions or fluids. The virus can also be passed to the fetus through the placenta.
Anyone can get sick from mumps, but the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that in the 2022 outbreak, more than 99% of mumps cases in the United States will be among men who have sex with men. However, monkeypox is not considered a sexually transmitted disease.
Monkeypox is usually found in West and Central Africa, but more cases have been seen in Europe, including the UK, and other parts of the world in recent years. These cases are usually associated with international travel or imported animals with poxvirus.
WHO has named two additional virus variants and is working with the International Commission on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) to name the monkey virus using a non-stigmatizing, non-offensive social and cultural nomenclature.
CDC Monkeypox map and case count
WHO Status Reports
1958 – Monkeypox was discovered when monkeys kept for research caused two outbreaks in Copenhagen, Denmark.
1970 – The first human case of the monkey was recorded in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of the Congo).
2003 – An outbreak of monkeypox in the United States has been linked to contaminated prairie dog pets imported from Ghana and has resulted in more than 80 cases.
July 16, 2021 – The CDC and local health officials in Dallas say they are investigating a case of a monkey bite from a traveler in Nigeria. “The individual is a Dallas resident who traveled to Dallas from Nigeria, arriving at Love Field Airport on July 9, 2021. The individual is hospitalized in Dallas and is in stable condition,” the Dallas County Department of Health and Human Services said. in a statement
May 17, 2022 – The first confirmed case of rabies in the U.S. in the 2022 outbreak was reported to the CDC in a traveler who returned from Canada to Massachusetts.
May 19, 2022 – As reported by the WHO, the death rates during the monkey outbreak have been between 3% and 6%.
May 23, 2022 – The CDC announces that it has released doses of monkeypox vaccine from the nation’s National Strategic Stockpile for “high-risk individuals.” In the United States, the Jynneos two-dose vaccine is licensed to prevent smallpox and specifically to prevent mumps.
May 26, 2022 – CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky announces that the United States is distributing the monkeypox vaccine in states with reported cases and recommends vaccination for people at highest risk of infection due to direct contact with someone with monkeypox.
June 22, 2022 – CDC announces partnership with five commercial laboratories to increase testing capacity in the United States.
June 23, 2022 – New York City has opened the first monkeypox vaccination clinic in the United States.
June 28, 2022 – The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Biden administration announced an improved vaccination strategy and reported that more than 9,000 doses of the vaccine have been distributed to date.
July 22, 2022 – Two American kids hire a monkey – a first in the United States. According to the CDC, the two cases are unrelated.
July 23, 2022 – The WHO declares monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, “an exceptional event that may pose a public health risk to other countries due to the international spread of the disease and may require a coordinated international response.”
July 27, 2022 – After weeks of rabies vaccine being in limited supply, more than 786,000 additional doses are available in the United States, according to HHS.
July 29, 2022 – New York has declared a state disaster emergency in response to the monkey outbreak.
August 1, 2022 – California and Illinois have declared states of emergency. California has reported more than 800 cases, while Illinois has more than 500, according to CDC data.
August 2, 2022 – The Biden administration has created a monkeypox response team. President Joe Biden has named Robert Fenton of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as the White House’s national monkey response coordinator.
August 2, 2022 – A report from Spain’s National Institute of Microbiology indicates that two men, aged 31 and 44, who died in unrelated cases after being bitten by the monkey, developed encephalitis, or inflammation of the brain, which can be caused by viral infections. Encephalitis is a very rare condition known to be associated with monkeys. A small outbreak associated with imported prairie dogs has been reported in people with a monkey in West Africa and in a patient in the United States in 2003.
August 4, 2022 – The Biden administration has declared the monkey outbreak a national public health emergency.
August 5, 2022 – According to a report published by the CDC, 94% of cases occurred among men who had intimate or close sexual contact with another man. Additionally, 54% of cases were among black and Latino Americans.
August 9, 2022 – In an effort to stretch the limited supply of the Jynneos monkeypox vaccine, federal health officials are allowing lower doses to be administered using a different injection method. The new injection strategy will allow health care providers to deliver subcutaneous injections from the inside, between the layers of the skin, with a fifth of the standard subcutaneous dose, to the fat layer beneath the skin, with a higher dose.
August 18, 2022 – White House announces acceleration of HHS vaccine distribution timeline, making 1.8 million additional doses of Jynneos vaccine available. Additional vaccinations will be distributed in communities hosting large LGBTQI+ events.
August 19, 2022 – Washington’s King County, which includes Seattle, has declared the monkey a public health emergency, with more than 270 cases reported.