The V.I. Health Department is warning the public that while there have been zero cases reported in the U.S. Virgin Islands, as of May 25, there have been 241 confirmed and six suspected cases of monkeypox reported in several countries. These countries do not typically experience cases or are not endemic to the monkeypox virus, including the United States, and no deaths have been reported worldwide, the department’s press release stated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of May 26, there have been nine confirmed Monkeypox cases in seven U.S. states. Monkeypox does not occur naturally in the U.S., but cases have happened in the past that were associated with international travel or importing animals from areas where the disease is more common, according to the release. The CDC has issued a Health Alert Network in response to the worldwide outbreak of Monkeypox cases, it said.
Once infection occurs, an incubation period lasts on average 7-14 days but can range from 5-21 days. Currently, there is no proven, safe treatment for monkeypox virus infection. In addition, lesions may occur over the body or be located only on the genital or perianal area, the release stated. In addition, some patients may present with proctitis, and their illness could be clinically confused with a sexually transmitted infection such as syphilis or herpes or with varicella-zoster virus infection, it said. In the U.S., the smallpox vaccine, antivirals, and vaccinia immune globulin can be used to control monkeypox outbreaks.
The department has already engaged with federal partners, particularly the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, to plan medical treatment and prevention, the release stated. The Strategic National Stockpile is responding to the monkeypox outbreak. ASPR’s SNS has several medical countermeasures available that could be used in the current monkeypox outbreak, including the Jynneos vaccine, ACAM2000 vaccine, and TPOXX (tecovirimat capsules or injection).
The department will request these MCMs if pre- or post-exposure prophylaxis or treatment for monkeypox is necessary through consultation with the CDC Emergency Operations Center, the release stated. In addition, the CDC subject matter experts will facilitate the transfer of MCMs to the territory in the appropriate quantities needed for treatment and prevention, it said.
For additional information on monkeypox in the United States, visit the CDC website at Monkeypox in the United States | Monkeypox | Poxvirus | CDC.