cautiously optimistic, After three months of surging monkeypox cases, the worldwide outbreak may have peaked, amid evidence that gay men are curbing risky sexual behaviors and more people are getting vaccinated against a virus that spreads by close contact and has overwhelmingly affected men who have sex with men.

Officials ‘cautiously optimistic’ about falling monkeypox cases

cautiously optimistic, New U.S. cases of monkeypox have fallen by about 25 percent in the past two weeks, from 444 cases a day on Aug. 10 to 337 on Aug. 24, according to The Washington Post’s rolling seven-day average. Nearly 17,000 Americans have been diagnosed with monkeypox since the virus emerged in mid-May. Globally, new cases fell by 21 percent from last week, the World Health Organization reported Thursday. Even as public health experts cheered the slowdown in new infections, they cautioned that the virus continues to pose a risk — especially in smaller communities outside U.S. urban centers and in developing countries amid vaccine shortages, limited surveillance and insufficient testing and could increasingly spill beyond the gay and bisexual community. Epidemiologists and health officials also report ongoing challenges with the White House’s new vaccine strategy to stretch the number of doses available. “There are signs that the outbreak is slowing in Europe, where a combination of effective public health measures, behavior change and vaccination are helping to prevent transmission,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday. But he warned that new cases are continuing to increase in places such as Latin America, where there is less awareness of the virus and limited vaccine access.

Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the University of California at Los Angeles who has studied the monkeypox outbreak, said a drop in cases is expected after growing awareness and a push for vaccinations. “Whether or not that’s going to be sustained, we just don’t know,” she said. “It’s premature to declare any kind of victory.” Biden administration officials Friday hailed the “downward trend” of monkeypox cases in major U.S. cities as a positive sign but sidestepped questions about whether the national outbreak had peaked. “I want to be cautiously optimistic,” said Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, acknowledging that more work is needed to contain the virus. “Week over week, our numbers are still increasing, [but] the rate of rise is lower … and things are not even across the country.” For instance, new virus cases in some regions are outpacing urban centers. Cumulative monkeypox cases in Georgia climbed 66 percent between Aug. 10 and 24, a two-week period when cases climbed just 41 percent in New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak, according to state and local health department data.

Source: This news is originally published by washingtonpost

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