Uptick Seen in Mpox Cases in Chicago

Last week's case count was highest in Chicago since early November 2022 and highest weekly new case rate in any U.S. region so far this year
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TUESDAY, May 9, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- While the mpox outbreak has been waning since last summer, it has not disappeared yet. Howard Brown Health, an LGBTQ-focused health clinic in Chicago, recently reported seeing an increase in mpox cases, with eight diagnosed since April 17 compared with only one in the previous three months.

Last week's case count was the highest in Chicago since early November 2022 and the highest weekly new case rate in any U.S. region so far this year, the clinic added. Even more troubling is the fact that six of the eight affected patients were fully vaccinated. All of the cases were mild.

"We urge sexually active members of our community to receive the mpox vaccine," Patrick Gibbons, M.D., chief medical director at Howard Brown Health, said in a clinic news release. "The more people who get vaccinated, the better protected the LGBTQ+ community will be from another outbreak of monkeypox this year."

It is not clear how long immunity lasts after vaccination. Also not known is whether those who reduced numbers of sexual partners during the outbreak have resumed sexual practices during this time of waning cases, NBC News reported.

Chicago is not the only place experiencing an uptick in mpox infections. Cases have also been increasing slightly in eight countries in the past three weeks, Rosamund Lewis, technical lead for mpox at the World Health Organization, told NBC News. These countries included several East Asian countries and France, where about half of the cases were in vaccinated people.

French national health authorities have said that their country has had 19 cases this year through April 3 in the Centre-Val de Loire region, 16 of them since March 1. All but one were in gay or bisexual men, NBC News reported. Ten of the people infected were fully vaccinated with either the Jynneos vaccine or a childhood smallpox vaccine followed by a recent Jynneos dose. Since mid-April, about 21 of the 111 countries where there have been mpox cases during the outbreak have reported new cases, Lewis said.

NBC News Article

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