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Will monkeypox become an ‘established STD’? Why one infectious disease expert thinks so

As U.S. cases rise, Nigeria’s Dr. Dimie Ogoina — who discovered the re-emergence of monkeypox in 2017 in Nigeria — told Fox News the virus shows “signs of becoming an established STD.”

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In an interview with Fox News, the Nigerian physician who handled the 2017 monkeypox outbreak in Nigeria said that as more cases are reported in the United States and the Biden administration has declared the outbreak a public health emergency, the virus now “shows all of the signs of becoming an established STD.”

The first monkeypox case in Nigeria in nearly 40 years was treated by infectious disease specialist Dr. Dimie Ogoina. In 2017, an 11-year-old child came to him with a rash resembling chickenpox.

According to Ogoina of Fox News, the doctor claimed he had “never seen a monkeypox case in my life — I [had] only seen images.”

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In the 1970s, doctors found the first known human cases of monkeypox in youngsters from Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the Congo. Prior to then, researchers discovered the first instances in 1958 in a Copenhagen, Denmark, animal facility, earning the illness the name “monkeypox.”

But in 2017, the 11-year-old youngster had no interaction with animals, according to Dr. Ogoina, a professor of medicine and infectious diseases at Niger Delta University in Nigeria. His uncle was the first member of his family to contract the virus, which then spread to his mother, father, and younger brother.

Dr. Ogoina confirmed his concerns after sending samples of the boy’s lesions to a lab in Senegal: The youngster got the nation of Nigeria’s first incidence of monkeypox in 38 years.

In Nigeria, the outbreak reached 200 confirmed cases in 2017. Since that time, the monkeypox virus has spread throughout Africa, becoming endemic and mostly affecting young, gay, and bisexual men.

The virus is not endemic in the United States, but according to Dr. Ogoina, it is showing signs of becoming “an established STD” — that is, it is spreading among Americans like other illnesses like chlamydia, gonorrhea, or HIV.

The United States confirmed two instances of monkeypox in 2021 among visitors from Nigeria.

The CDC attributed the containment of the spread to contract tracing efforts and “excellent teamwork between CDC, state and local health departments, airline and airport partners.”

Less than a year later, the number of cases of monkeypox is increasing.

The CDC reported 14,115 cases of monkeypox (orthopoxvirus) in the U.S. as of Thursday afternoon, August 18, 2022.

The CDC informed Fox News in response to a question that although the virus can be sexually transmitted, it has not yet been classified as a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

“The question of whether monkeypox is a sexually transmitted infection has been raised in light of the present outbreak (STI). It is more accurate to refer to monkeypox as “sexually transmissible.” In other words, sexual activity is one method of spreading monkeypox, but it’s not the only one “agency stated.

“The virus is predominantly spreading in the current monkeypox outbreak through close contact with an infected person, it was said. This involves close, prolonged skin-to-skin contact that takes place during sex and exposure to respiratory secretions or monkeypox lesions.”

States have rushed to provide vaccines and step up testing efforts as HHS increases the monkeypox vaccine to more than 1.1 million doses due to an increase in cases.

The Biden administration wants to reduce doses such that the vaccine is only one-fifth as effective.

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The White House issued the following statement on it on August 9, 2022.

The FDA may use its power to permit health care professionals to administer up to five times the number of vaccine doses per vial of JYNNEOS vaccine, according to a Section 564 declaration made public by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

It continued, “Today, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra issued a determination under the Section 564 declaration of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that permits the emergency use authorization of vaccines to prevent monkeypox and severe disease from the virus in response to last week’s public health emergency declaration. Through this step, the federal government will be able to provide up to five times as many doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine from a single vial.”

The EUA now permits 0.1ml of the JYNNEOS vaccine to be injected intradermally (between layers of skin), as opposed to 0.5ml of the vaccine being delivered subcutaneously.

One method of putting an end to the monkeypox outbreak is vaccination distribution. Other experts mention other measures.

According to Dr. Robert Malone, a co-inventor of the mRNA vaccine, immunization is not always the best course of action.

Malone asserted that vaccination is not the most effective strategy to reduce this risk. “Until these folks are no longer contagious,” the doctor said, “it is through contact tracing, abstinence, and isolation.”

Also from him: “Even the effectiveness of the vaccination itself is unknown. It wasn’t intended to treat monkeypox. What is being done at this moment is strikingly similar to what took place at the beginning of the coronavirus epidemic.”

Public health professionals are also trying to combat the stigma associated with the disease’s name and the affected community.

According to a statement the WHO issued, “Current best practice is that newly identified viruses, related diseases, and virus variants should be given names with the aim to avoid offending any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups, and minimize any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism, or animal welfare.” The WHO is working to rename monkeypox.

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Dr. Malone said to Fox News that “it’s a very limited worldwide cohort… and it’s a sexually transmitted illness within that global cohort of people that often has very many sex partners” in regards to the transmission of monkeypox.

Additionally, he added, “I think that in public health, we have to be particularly concerned about circumstances where we are constraining our ability to effectively speak to the folks that are at the most risk.”

According to a Fox News poll, American voters are unconcerned about monkeypox despite the rise in instances. In a survey conducted between August 6 and 9, 54% of registered voters stated they were unconcerned about monkeypox.

The world community is, nevertheless, under pressure to stop the pandemic.

Dr. Ogoina stated that the infection has spread rapidly and is currently doing so in more than 50 nations in less than two months.