The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put out its first vaccine guidance related to a recent outbreak of monkeypox cases across the U.S. and Europe – with health workers and others responding to the uptick in cases first in line to get the shots.
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP), the CDC’s leading experts on vaccines, issued the recommendation Friday, and it will include lab workers who research orthopoxviruses, people who work in lab testing environments, and health care personnel who are treating infected patients.
The JYNNEOS vaccine in question is tailored to both smallpox and monkeypox – just as many other smallpox drugs are also believed to be effective against the rare virus.
It comes as the U.S. records its tenth presumptive case of the virus, with a man in Colorado having a suspected infection after a recent trip to Canada, state officials announced Thursday night.
‘Certain laboratorians and health care personnel can be exposed to orthopoxviruses through occupational activities,’ ACIP wrote in its report.
The panel notes that orthopoxvirus vaccines, like JYNNEOS, were regularly distributed to children in the U.S. to combat smallpox in the past.
Smallpox, a highly devastating, deadly, virus, was eradicated in 1980, though, and use of the vaccines has since been dropped from mandatory to scarce.
Officials still recommend that some parts of the population do continue to receive the shots, though, including people who may be exposed to these viruses at work.
America has a stockpile of over 1,000 doses of the two-dose vaccine in place for a situation like this.
The country also has 100 million doses of ACAM2000, another pox vaccine, in its stockpile, though that jab has been replaced by JYNNEOS because of its increased risk of negative side-effects.
On Monday, the CDC reported that the country had planned to distribute the shots to the most high-risk group.
Rollout of the vaccines to the high risk groups is expected to begin soon.
The recommendation comes as the U.S. monkeypox tally to reaches ten, with nine cases having been confirmed by the CDC on Thursday.
Colorado recorded the most recent suspected case in a ‘young’, gay or bisexual, man who had recently traveled to Canada.
On Thursday, the CDC confirmed nine positive cases of the virus, with the most recent being a woman in Northern Virginia who has recently traveled to an African country where the virus is common.
The vast majority of infections are in gay and bisexual men, and most are thought to be linked to international travel.
Officials have not reported any confirmed cases of human-to-human transmission of the virus in the U.S.
Experts in Europe — where most cases are being detected — say the outbreak there may have been sparked by unsafe sex at two mass gatherings in Spain and Belgium.
Globally, more than 300 cases have been detected across more than a two dozen countries.
The virus is primarily spread via touch with infected lesions, making it tougher for it to spread than other infectious disease like COVID-19.
Monkeypox is a rare virus typically only found in West and Central Africa. The current strain that has escaped into Europe and North America is the less-deadly West African strain that kills around one percent of infected persons.
No deaths from monkeypox have been reported as part of this recent outbreak across the western world.
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