Elevated Mpox Cases Spark Concerns

Elevated Mpox Cases Spark Concerns | Healthcare 360 Magazine

[Source-The Hill]

The prevalence of mpox cases has been on the rise since October, with an average of approximately 200 new cases reported each month. This uptick has led health authorities to intensify efforts to prevent a potential summer surge similar to what was witnessed in 2022.

According to recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the first quarter of 2024 has seen a significant increase in mpox cases compared to the same period last year. The numbers paint a stark picture, with nearly double the rate of cases reported in the first three months of this year compared to 2023.

Jynneos Vaccine Availability Expands

In response to the escalating mpox cases, Bavarian Nordic, the manufacturer of Jynneos, announced last week that its vaccine would now be commercially available in the United States. This move aims to broaden access to the vaccine, enabling individuals to get vaccinated in settings that are convenient or comfortable for them.

A study conducted by the CDC in the previous year revealed that two-thirds of eligible individuals for mpox vaccination remained unimmunized. This underscores the importance of increasing accessibility to vaccines to curb the spread of the disease.

Uncertainty Surrounding Vaccine Protection Duration

Commenting on the recent surge in mpox cases, Jay Varma, chief medical officer at SIGA Technologies and former health adviser to former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, highlighted the challenges in sustaining behavioral changes among at-risk populations. Additionally, Varma emphasized the uncertainty surrounding the duration of vaccine protection, noting that it varies among individuals and necessitates time for accurate assessment.

While mpox transmission in the United States primarily remains confined to social networks of men who have sex with men, there are concerns that the situation could evolve. Varma pointed to the mpox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where heterosexual encounters between men and sex workers serve as a significant mode of transmission.

Read More: Surge in Mpox Cases in North Carolina Sparks Concern

Preemptive Measures for Summer Season

With the summer season approaching, concerns about a potential surge in mpox cases are mounting. Organizations like Hujdich’s are gearing up to launch awareness campaigns ahead of the summer months, while federal health officials are devising preemptive strategies.

The federal government’s “Summer of Pride” initiative, launched last year to promote health equity in the LGBTQ community, will continue into 2024 with a focus on addressing mpox vaccinations. The initiative will highlight the efficacy of the Jynneos vaccine and address immunization disparities observed among Black and Latino men.

A spokesperson for the CDC confirmed the continuation of the “Summer of Pride” initiative, indicating that planning for the program’s activities in 2024 is currently underway. The initiative aims to raise awareness and encourage mpox vaccinations within the LGBTQI+ community, particularly among vulnerable populations.

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