By Aneri Upadhyay
Fever, chills, and a sore throat - symptoms that have plagued the world for the past two years. However, these are not only symptoms of Covid-19 but also monkeypox. Adding on a severe rash, monkeypox has affected more than seventy thousand people since its outbreak earlier this year. After months of unknown and harrowing effects, monkeypox cases have finally begun to decline.
For more than two months, cases have been declining, as reported by the Ohio Capital Journal. This is possibly due to both an easily accessible vaccine and more information about the disease itself.
According to the CDC, there were around 500 cases of monkeypox daily at the beginning of August 2022, a stark difference from the week of Oct. 17 which has an average of 80-90 cases a day.
Whereas usually there is a lack of vaccines for new outbreaks, this was not the case for monkeypox, partially due to the already established smallpox vaccine. In fact, there are more vaccine doses circulating than people who need it according to NPR.
The JYNNEOS vaccine is the only one currently available for monkeypox and smallpox, but more than 906,000 doses have been given as of last week as reported by ABC. It is currently being given under only the first layer of skin rather than all the layers of skin to maximize the quantity of one vial.
Despite the general decline in cases across the U.S., cases have in fact increased for people of color according to Virginia Mercury. This increase is proof that more research is needed and more awareness still has to be brought to the public eye.
Caution is still advised as there is much the public does not know about monkeypox as a whole.
“As we have learned and seen with Covid, case numbers have a certain shape and what goes down can come up again,” Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician, said to ABC. “So, we can't rest on our laurels and think that's it over.”
Health officials advise that although there is more research to be done, it is possible that the U.S. may reach zero cases in the coming year. However, there needs to be reassurance that cases have actually declined as opposed to people just not checking on them.
“What I think I unfortunately know, is that oftentimes we have a very short attention span,” said Aaron Guest, chair of the LGBTQ Health Caucus at the American Public Health Association, to Ohio Capital Journal. “And once it seems like we’ve dealt with something, we kind of move on to the next thing or now that the emergency is over.”