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CDC Issues Warning About Rapidly Spreading New Strain of Monkeypox

The CDC has put out a warning to healthcare professionals and departments across the country about a new strain of monkeypox that has been spreading rapidly and causing concern.

Clade I, which is a distinct form, emerged in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and spread throughout 22 out of the 26 provinces in the country. The Health Alert Network (HAN) of the CDC emphasized the need for increased vigilance, particularly amung individuals who have traveled back from the affected regions. At present, Clade I has not been found in the United States.

The health warning stresses the importance of healthcare providers being more watchful because of the outbreak impacting a large part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, including cities. Because there is a possibility that the virus could be brought in by travelers, healthcare workers are advised to be ready for possible cases and be alert for symptoms that resemble other types of the virus, such as a rash and swelling of the lymph nodes.

Prompt reporting to state health departments is encouraged upon encountering patients displaying these symptoms, especially those with recent travel history to the DRC. The CDC also stresses the importance of submitting lesion specimens for clade-specific testing in suspected cases.

Despite lower vaccine coverage in the US, the CDC reaffirms the efficacy of vaccines like JYNNEOS and ACAM2000 against both Clade I and Clade II MPXV infections. Healthcare providers are strongly recommended to advise eligible patients to get vaccinated.

In a separate travel advisory, the CDC advises caution for travelers in the DRC, suggesting measures like avoiding contact with ill individuals, maintaining distance from wild animals, and refraining from handling or consuming game meat.

The CDC issued a warning in response to the World Health Organization's reports, which stated that this particular strain of monkeypox virus, leading to the serious illness called mpox, is highly contagious and has a death rate of as much as 10%. Rosamund Lewis, a member of the WHO's mpox surveillance team, expressed concerns about its ability to spread more easily between people, increasing the danger.

Last year, a less severe variant of the virus, Clade II, spread globally, resulting in over 31,000 diagnosed cases of mpox in the US and 55 fatalities.

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