US now global monkeypox capital as record-breaking 1,048 diagnoses in 24 hours sees total pass Spain
The United States has become the global epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak, overtaking Spain following a record-breaking 24 hours in which 1,048 new cases were confirmed.
The updated data for Wednesday shows that there are now 4,639 confirmed cases in the U.S.
Spain currently has 3,738.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Wednesday that the uptick in cases was likely due to an increase in testing, after it expanded capacity from 10,000 to 80,000 swabs per week.
By population — which takes into account the U.S. having seven-times more people than Spain — America has about one case per 100,000 people.
Spain’s tally is seven per 100,000.
The infection rate in the U.S. is also below many other European countries including the UK and Germany (both at three per 100,000).
A protester on July 21 holds up a sign in New York City demanding the government do more to make the monkeypox vaccine available
Experts fear the disease has already spilled over into more vulnerable groups, such as children under eight years old that health officials say are at high risk of severe disease.
Two children — in California and ‘transiting through’ D.C. — have tested positive for monkeypox to date, the CDC says.
America’s response to monkeypox was slammed for being too slow to roll out tests and vaccinations at the start of the outbreak, especially to gay or bisexual men where most cases are being recorded.
No deaths have been registered to date but several patients have been hospitalized.
DailyMail.com averaged the daily rise in cases over the latest seven days available to calculate how fast they were ticking up every 24 hours.
This showed the U.S. is currently recording about 216 monkeypox cases a day on average, while in Spain 108 per day are being detected.
It is unlikely that another European nation will surge ahead as experts say many — including the UK — are now seeing their outbreak start to peak.
Dr Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, said: ‘The U.S. was slow to kick off widespread testing, and so now is detecting transmission chains that have been carrying on uninterrupted for some time.
‘We don’t know how much increased awareness, especially in the core communities of gay and bisexual men, will slow transmission down.
‘But it is reasonable to suggest that the U.S. case count will continue to grow and will outpace the outbreak’s elsewhere.’
Spain is at the center of Europe’s monkeypox outbreak, being among the first country’s to report the disease — with early cases linked to unsafe sex among gay or bisexual men at a venue outside the country’s capital, Madrid, and a Pride event in the Canary Islands.
Since then the vast majority of cases have been detected in the same group, but some have been spotted in women — often those living with gay or bisexual men. A three-year-old also tested positive for the virus.
Health authorities in the country have rolled out vaccines to close contacts in order to curb cases, but there have been problems getting hold of doses.
Spain — like the U.S. — is using the Jynneous vaccine, but only had 200 doses available in early July. It has said more doses will be ordered, but has not specified a number.
In the U.S. cases were initially mostly linked to international travel, particularly to Europe, but many are now being detected in people who became infected in the country. Experts suggest the virus may have been transmitting for a while before it was detected.
Hotspots New York City and Washington D.C. are rolling out vaccines against the virus to gay or bisexual men with multiple partners in two weeks to put a lid on the virus, but these programs have hit a brick wall with too few doses being supplied by the Federal Government.
Spain has the most per capita cases of monkeypox, while the U.S. has the greatest total number
Both cities are now delaying second doses, due four weeks after the first, due to demand.
A total of five million vaccines have been ordered so far, on top of the more than one million that were available when the program began.
Testing has also been ramped up after it was slammed early on for the stringent guidance on which samples could be tested leading to just 23 swabs being checked for the virus a day early in the outbreak.
Five commercial labs have been brought onboard now with a combined capacity for about 80,000 swabs per week.
Daily tallies have rocketed since, with the biggest daily increase yet reported on Wednesday, with 1,048 cases in the last 24 hours.
Breaking the data down by area shows New York City currently has the largest outbreak at 1,040 confirmed infections according to its Department of Health. The CDC says the state has 990 infections at present.
It was followed by California, at 356, and Illinois, with 341.
Only four states — Maine, Montana, Vermont and Wyoming — are yet to detect a single infection with the disease.
It is not clear whether other states — alongside New York — are preparing to start vaccinating gay or bisexual men where most cases are being detected to get a handle on the outbreak.
Monkeypox is normally confined to West Africa, but earlier this year it was picked up at a Pride festival in Spain.
Since then more than 40 countries worldwide — mostly in Europe — have spotted cases of the disease, which are mostly among gay or bisexual men.
Unlike in previous outbreaks, the disease appears to mostly be spreading via sexual contact with lesions — which allow transmission — initially appearing on the genital and anal regions.
Experts say the disease has likely already spilled over into other groups, however, which are more at risk.
In the U.S., two children were found to have been infected last week.