Monkeypox reported in 26 states. Here’s info on vaccine side effects and who should consider getting the shot

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Most people who contract monkeypox recover, but there are long-term implications with the disease — not to mention the stigma.

Fresh off the heels of one devastating pandemic, health officials in the United States are warning that while the threat for contracting monkeypox is low, it is present.

A male hands affected by blistering rash because of monkeypox or other viral infection on white background
A male hands affected by blistering rash because of monkeypox or other viral infection on white background

USA Today reports that since May, there have been over 4,100 cases of monkeypox confirmed – and a single death – in 47 nations across Europe and South America, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

As of Tuesday, there have been more than 240 cases of monkeypox reported in 26 states and the District of Columbia, the CDC says. What was once an outlier is now emerging in numerous places across America.

Monkeypox reportedly emerges with symptoms akin to the flu, including fever ahead of muscle aches, fatigue and chills. It can often cause a rash on the genitals and the face.

There is a vaccine for the disease — the Jynneos vaccine, which has been approved by the FDA for adults 18 and up. Per USA Today, the Jynneos vaccine is considered safer than other options because it’s created from a virus related to monkeypox and smallpox yet is less harmful.

The CDC says America has 100 million doses of a smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000. Administered via a forked needle and not a traditional lone shot, it can reportedly have side effects, the FDA says, that include inflammation of the heart and the tissue surrounding it, as well as swelling of the brain.

In New York, city health officials opened a clinic last week to vaccinate people potentially at risk for monkeypox infection due to recent close contacts, and CDC officials told USA Today the California Department of Public Health had sought and been sent vaccines against the disease. Across five California counties, 52 cases have been reported.

Most people who contract the disease recover, but there are long-term implications with it — and the stigma, which is racially and sexually charged. A survey of those infected in the U.K. found 96% were men who were gay, bisexual or had sex with other men. As a result, men who fall into those categories are at highest risk for monkeypox, so they are most encouraged to seek vaccination.

“Cases have primarily been among gay, bisexual, and other men and transgender people who have sex with men,” said the agency’s statement. “Monkeypox is transmitted through close and intimate physical contact. Although the risk to the general public is very low, it is important to remember that anyone who has such contact with an infected person can get monkeypox. People with an unusual rash or skin lesion should contact their health care provider for an assessment.”

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