PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The CDC has now confirmed a case of monkey pox in Philadelphia – the first case found in Pennsylvania. Monkeypox infections in the United States have doubled to 21 in one week.
Meanwhile, the CDC is stepping up efforts to counter the spread of the virus by initiating an emergency response.
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“Given how well connected our world is, no one is really isolated,” said Dana Perella, director of the Department of Health for Acute Infectious Diseases.
Monkey cups spread through prolonged close contact.
With several large crowds expected for Philadelphia events this weekend, health officials say people need to know what to look out for.
Monkey pox, the contagious virus that causes lesions, may be more prevalent than first thought, but CDC officials say the overall risk remains low.
“Currently, however, the cases reported in the United States are mostly among homosexuals, bisexuals or other men who have sex with men,” said Dr. Jennifer McQuinston of the CDC.
Doctors say anyone can get monkey pox. It is not sexually transmitted, but is spread mainly through close contact or large airway droplets.
“It is important that we realize that this is not a homosexual infection,” said infectious disease specialist Dr. Mark Watkins.
The Mazzoni Center says the organization wants to raise awareness and is issuing a statement on the upcoming Pride festivities.
“You’re not going to get it just from random contact that way, walking down the street, bumping past someone in a crowd,” Watkins said.
At a concert you sit next to someone, maybe you dance next to someone for a few hours. Is it a potential risk?
“So some people will say yes that you should not be in close physical contact that way with someone you do not know,” Watkins said.
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Another Philadelphia event this weekend that expects large crowds is Roots Picnic and Concert.
“I do not think it’s something we should panic about, it does not spread in the same way that COVID spreads. For example, you know it’s not nearly as easy to catch this as it is to catch “So you know, I do not see it as the next pandemic, but it is interesting and unusual. And I certainly think we need to look into it to find out what’s really going on,” said ChristianaCare’s boss. for Infection Prevention, Dr. Marci Drees.
Drees says the virus spreads through close contact, including skin or airway transmission, and will most likely be diagnosed when a rash breaks out several days after exposure.
Other symptoms include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, back pain, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and rash that develops one to three days after exposure.
“The rash can be on different parts of the body. It is usually more common on the face and extremities than on the central part of the body. What has been a feature of this rash is that it has sometimes been isolated to the genital area, Said Drees.
Drees also says that if you develop a rash, it is important to contact your doctor, cover it immediately and isolate it.
“It can also be spread by materials, so if you handle the bedding or towels from someone with monkey cups, then you can catch it that way,” Drees said.
Monkey cups were accidentally imported to the United States in 2003 – transmitted from rodents sent from Africa to prairie dogs.
It has historically been spread from animals to humans, but officials have not been able to trace this outbreak, which was first identified last month in a British patient.
“It’s clearly spreading in a different way than it has done before,” Drees said.
Monkey pox is similar to the smallpox virus, and the smallpox vaccine can be used to help treat high-risk patients with monkey pox.
Officials say the best way to stay safe is to practice social distancing, masking and proper hand washing.
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CBS3’s Alicia Roberts, Ross DiMattei and Stephanie Stahl contributed to this report.