CDC Warns of Mpox Resurgence This Summer

Lisa O'Mary

May 17, 2023

A resurgence of mpox this summer could be larger than last year’s caseload, the CDC said in a warning to public health officials this week.

"The outbreak is not over," the CDC alert stated, noting that springtime and summertime gatherings and festivals could lead to renewed virus spread. A new cluster of 13 cases are being investigated in Chicago, all among men, and four among people who recently traveled to New York City, New Orleans, or Mexico. 

Mpox, formerly called monkeypox, is a virus that causes a rash and sometimes flu-like symptoms. It is most often transmitted through sexual contact, but it can also be spread in nonsexual ways that involve contact with skin lesions or with saliva or upper respiratory secretions like snot or mucus, the CDC says. Most cases in the U.S. have been among gay or bisexual men, men who have sex with men, and transgender people.

Last year, the U.S. government declared mpox a public health emergency as cases peaked at 460 per day in August, infecting more than 30,000 people and killing 42 people. Public health officials worked to quickly distribute vaccinations to people at high risk for contracting the virus. The CDC says 23% of people most at risk of getting mpox have been vaccinated.

The agency advises that people be vaccinated for mpox based on their potential exposure risk. Vaccination does not necessarily prevent infection but can lessen the severity of symptoms. Nine of the men who were recently infected in Chicago were fully vaccinated.

"It's important to remember that vaccines, while incredibly helpful, are not our only way to reduce the risk of contracting mpox," Richard Silvera, MD, MPH, assistant professor of infectious diseases at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, told ABC News. 

Other ways to reduce risk are "things like avoiding social and sexual contact if you have new skin lesions and asking your intimate contacts if they are experiencing symptoms or new skin changes," Silvera said. 


CDC: "Potential Risk for New Mpox Cases," "Mpox: How It Spreads."

ABC News: "CDC warns about potential risk of mpox ahead of summer gatherings."


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