This story has been edited to reflect that there are now just nine states with no reported cases, while when it was originally written, there were 10 states. The case count is now over 1,000 nationwide.
On the eve of a super moon, also known as the “buck moon,” or “thunder moon,” the United States is now close to reporting 1,053 cases of monkeypox virus. The disease has afflicted people in all but 9 states: Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, Kansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Vermont and Maine are the remaining states that have yet to report a case of the disease that is mainly spreading among men having sex with men.
Some early symptoms of monkeypox include swollen lymph notes and increasing pain in the rectum. Pustules may begin to form on other parts of the body.
The disease is spreading rapidly but is contained to certain populations with certain behaviors. On June 25, there were only 200 cases in the U.S. The states of New York, California, and Illinois have the most cases.
Monkeypox vaccine continues to be in short supply.
Starting Wednesday, Quest Diagnostics will begin testing for monkeypox, based on a medical provider referral. The company said the test is now available to healthcare providers nationwide, except in New York, where it will be available soon. Anchorage has a Quest Diagnostics center.
Quest will do the monkeypox virus specimen testing at the company’s laboratory in San Juan Capistrano, Calif. and can accept specimens from anywhere in the country, the CDC said.
Quest’s testing is in addition to the CDC’s Laboratory Response Network (LRN), Labcorp, and Mayo Clinic Laboratories partnerships, along with five other commercial laboratories, which gives the network an ability to test up to 60,000 specimens per week by the end of July.
Anyone with a rash should talk to their healthcare provider about whether they need to get tested, even if they don’t think they had contact with someone who has monkeypox, the CDC said.
The State of Alaska is also gearing up for the outbreak to reach Alaska. On Wednesday, the Section of Epidemiology today advised medical practitioners to:
- Test any patient with a rash illness consistent with monkeypox, regardless of epidemiologic risk factors.
- Obtain testing through either commercial laboratories or the Alaska State Public Health Laboratory.
- Report all suspected cases to the Section of Epidemiology. To report, call 907-269-8000, or 1-800-478-0084 after hours.
- Post-exposure vaccination should be prioritized for close contacts to cases. As supplies allow, vaccine might also be available for persons with certain high-risk exposures, such those who have had multiple sexual partners during the past 14 days in a community where monkeypox transmission is occurring or while attending an event associated with a monkeypox outbreak.
CDC anticipates additional commercial laboratories will come online in the coming days, and monkeypox testing capacity will continue to increase throughout the rest of July and August, the agency said.