Mpox by the Numbers: October 10, 2022


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On November 28, 2022, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended using the term “mpox” instead of “monkeypox” in order to avoid racist and stigmatizing language when discussing the disease. Both terms will be used for the next year as WHO phases out usage of “monkeypox.”

  • Global cases: 71,096
  • U.S. cases: 26,577
  • Global deaths: 26

The first case of mpox (formerly known as monkeypox) was reported in the United States on May 18, 2022.

As of October 10, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 26,577 cases of mpox have been identified in the U.S.

California has reported the most cases with 5,135 followed by New York with 3,984.

In the U.S., mpox cases are counted in the state that a person lives in. Confirmed cases in U.S. citizens who were tested and diagnosed abroad will also be included in that country's case count data.

What Is Mpox?

Mpox is an infectious disease that is spread by a virus. The mpox virus is in the same family as the virus that causes smallpox.

According to the CDC, the signs and symptoms of mpox include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and backache
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Feeling rundown or exhausted

Mpox usually causes a rash a few days after infection. The lesions can be on the face, the bottoms of the feet, the hands, the genitals, and other parts of the body.

How Do You Get Mpox?

Mpox is a contagious virus that is spread by close contact with other people. Experts think a person with mpox can only give it to someone else if they have symptoms. They will be able to spread the virus until the rash has fully healed (around 2 to 4 weeks).

You can catch mpox from an infected person if you get their bodily or respiratory fluids on you. You may also pick up the virus if you touch something that an infected person touched (like bedding).

It's less common, but:

  • People can catch mpox from an animal (e.g., hedgehogs, squirrels, rats, chinchillas, and primates)
  • Pregnant people may pass the mpox virus to a fetus

Can Kids Get Mpox?

Infants and children can get mpox. As of mid-September, the CDC has identified 27 cases of mpox in kids in the U.S. under the age of 16, including 12 cases in kids under the age of 5.

Researchers do not know for sure if mpox spreads through the air (aerosolized respiratory transmission, like how COVID spreads).

However, if you are close to an infected person's face for a long time, you may breathe in respiratory droplets that have the mpox virus in them.

It's also not known if domestic animals (e.g., pets, like dogs and cats) or livestock (e.g., farm animals like cows and pigs) can get mpox and spread it to humans.

Is Mpox an STI?

Mpox is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is not yet known if the virus can be spread through semen or vaginal fluid.

However, because sexual activity often involves skin-to-skin contact and exchanging body fluids (e.g., saliva through kissing), it's possible to catch mpox from a person you have sex with.

Mpox and Men Who Have Sex With Men

The current mpox outbreak has affected many men who have sex with men (MSM). Most of the infections that have been reported so far have affected this group and they are considered at high risk for getting the virus.

However, experts from the CDC emphasize that any person can get mpox, regardless of age, sex, race/ethnicity, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Who Needs a Vaccine?

Currently, there are two vaccines that may offer protection against mpox. However, most people probably will not need to get an mpox vaccine.

In the U.S., there is a limited supply of mpox vaccines. The focus is on making sure that people who have been exposed or are at high risk for exposure can get vaccinated first.

Is Mpox a Pandemic?

On June 23, 2022, the WHO declared the mpox outbreak a global public health emergency. The virus is currently spreading in countries that have not seen the disease before.

Making this declaration helps make sure that countries can access the resources that they need, like vaccines, to help curb the spread of mpox.

However, two criteria that have to be met for an outbreak can be called a pandemic:

  1. The disease is spreading around the world and
  2. The number of cases is high enough that it is an epidemic.

As of July, public health experts are not sure that the mpox outbreak clearly meets both criteria. Investigators are watching the situation very closely and will update as they learn more about how the virus is spreading.

Mpox Global Outbreak Stats

According to the CDC, 71,096 mpox cases have been reported globally in 107 countries since January 1, 2022.

Of those cases, 70,377 cases have been identified in 100 countries that have not reported mpox cases before.

The U.S. has reported the highest number of mpox cases, followed by Brazil with 8,207 and Spain with 7,209.

Is Mpox Going to Be Like COVID?

Public health experts do not think that mpox outbreak will be like the COVID-19 pandemic.

One reason is that it's not as easy to catch mpox as it is to catch COVID. For example, you can breathe in the virus that causes COVID, while mpox is mostly spread by direct contact with bodily fluids.

However, public health experts still want people who are at risk of being exposed to mpox to take precautions. In some situations, that might include wearing a face mask just to be safe (for example, if they are around someone who has mpox).

One thing that everyone can do to protect themselves from mpox and many other infectious diseases is to properly and frequently wash their hands.

The information in this article is current as of the date listed, which means newer information may be available when you read this. For the most recent updates on mpox, visit the Verywell Health News page.

For the most up-to-date information on mpox cases where you live, check your local public health department's website.

14 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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