Los Angeles records 22 cases of monkeypox after the events of Pride as health officials say the outbreak is rife in the gay community.
“Anyone can get and spread monkeypox, but some of the recent cases identified are in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men who have attended large events where exposure to monkeypox may have occurred,” the Los Angeles Public Department said. Health in a press release.
The warning comes after a month of Pride celebrations in the city which included Pride in the Park on June 11, a concert which drew more than 20,000 people and included a performance by Christina Aguilera as well as the city’s parade which took place on June 12.
According to the Los Angeles Times, thousands of people lined the streets of the city to celebrate the return of the parade after a two-year hiatus due to Covid-19.
As of June 2, there were only three cases of monkeypox in all of California, NBC News said at the time.
There are now 51 reported cases of monkeypox in California and 199 cases nationwide, according to the CDC.
LA is now offering the JYNNEOS vaccine to “people at higher risk for monkeypox.”
JYNNEOS is a vaccine used to treat smallpox and monkeypox that was first approved in the United States by the Federal Drug Administration in 2019.
New York City began rolling out the vaccine in preparation for its Pride celebrations last Thursday. There are 35 reported cases in New York State.
Most of the first cases in the United States were in people who had just returned from a trip abroad. But the disease spread rapidly, especially among homosexuals.
Around the world, health officials have already warned that there is a spike in cases of monkeypox in gay and bisexual male communities.
Monkeypox – native to West Africa – has now been detected more than 3,000 times in 40 countries where it is not usually found this year.
The map above shows the spread of monkeypox across the United States. The virus has now been detected in 24 states. Previously, New York was the epicenter of the outbreak, but it has now been overtaken by California
Los Angeles revelers enjoying the Pride Parade earlier in June 2022. After the celebration, health officials warned that recent cases in the city “identified involve gay, bisexual and other men with sex with men who have been to big events”.
Similar to New York, the city of Los Angeles offers the JYNNEOS vaccine to “people at higher risk for monkeypox”
The theme for the Los Angeles Pride Parade this year was “Love Your Pride”
The tropical disease is mainly spread by physical contact with infectious rashes, but in rare cases it can also be transmitted by “sustained” direct contact.
Many patients have rashes on the genital area and anus as the first warning sign, before the disease spreads to the rest of the body.
It can take up to four weeks to heal from the disease, with most cases being mild and resolving on their own.
Someone stays contagious until their rashes have crusted over and eventually fall off.
In May 2022, Andy Seale, a strategy adviser at the World Health Organization, was cited like saying it’s important that people celebrate Pride events as usual.
He said, “It’s important that people who want to go out and celebrate gay pride, LGBTQ+ pride, continue to go and plan to do so.”
Seale also said: “Since this is not a gay disease, the routes of transmission are common to everyone. The advice is pretty much the same for everyone.
Also in May 2022, Dr. David Heymann, who previously headed the WHO’s emergency department, told The Associated Press that the main theory explaining the spread of the disease was sexual transmission at raves held in Spain and in Belgium.
“We know that monkeypox can be spread through close contact with the lesions of an infected person, and it appears sexual contact has now amplified that transmission,” Heymann said.
Monkeypox does not spread easily from person to person and requires the exchange of bodily fluids or prolonged exposure to someone who already has the virus
No deaths have been recorded amid the 2022 monkeypox outbreak in Europe and the United States
Just days before Pride events start in New York, ‘at risk’ gay and bisexual men were offered the vaccine
This week, the WHO refrained from declaring Monkeypox a global health emergency, but said the situation would be reviewed next month.
US boosts monkeypox testing in bid to speed diagnoses
The Biden administration has begun shipping monkeypox tests to commercial labs, in an effort to expedite diagnoses of suspected infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sends swabs to labs such as Aegis Science, Labcorp, Mayo Clinic Laboratories, Quest Diagnostics and Sonic Healthcare.
He said it would greatly increase the country’s ability to test for monkeypox.
Previously, testing was largely confined to public health labs, which combined had a capacity of around 8,000 tests per week.
“All Americans should be concerned about cases of monkeypox,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in a statement.
“Fortunately, we currently have the tools to fight and deal with cases in America.
“By dramatically increasing the number of testing sites across the country, we are making it possible for anyone who needs to be tested to do so.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was deeply concerned about the outbreak.
“I am deeply concerned about the monkeypox outbreak, it is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I at the WHO Secretariat are following very closely,” Tedros said.
The “global emergency” label currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the United Nations agency waived applying it to the monkeypox outbreak after the advice from a meeting of international experts.
New York’s health chiefs have come under fire for their ‘last minute’ rollout of monkeypox vaccines just two days before the city’s Pride weekend on Friday – as dozens walk-ins were turned away on the second day of inoculations.
Last Thursday, the city became the first in the United States to begin offering the jab to the most “at-risk” gay or bisexual men.
But within three hours of launching the drive, it was forced to suspend walk-in tours due to ‘high demand’, and all appointments were booked through Monday.
At least 100 men lined up for the jab last Thursday morning, with many having no reservations arriving until two hours before the clinic opened. But all walk-in customers were turned away and told to check online for new time slots.
Chris LeBron, Democratic candidate for New York State Assembly, slammed the ‘pop-up’ inoculation and slammed city health commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan for not showing up to monitor vaccinations.
Men waiting to be vaccinated today said it was ‘ridiculous’ that only 1,000 doses were available in a city of eight million people. Others criticized health officials for giving ‘contradictory’ information on how to get bitten.
Many of those who received the vaccine today expressed relief, saying they could now safely enjoy the Pride weekend – which is expected to draw crowds of more than two million people. One man even left the clinic saying to a friend, “We can kiss tonight!”
No deaths have been recorded amid the 2022 outbreak, but health officials warn it could spread to more vulnerable populations if the outbreak is not contained.
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