The capital of the United States now has the highest number of monkeypox cases per capita of any city in the nation.
Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows there is one case of the virus for every 6,500 residents.
New York has the second highest case rate with one monkeypox case for every 40,000 residents, while Illinois is reporting one case for every 73,000 residents. California has the nation’s fourth highest per capita infection rate — one case per 148,000 residents.
New York has the most confirmed cases of the virus with over 480 cases. New York City, in particular, has been intensely affected by the outbreak with cases doubling in one week.
D.C. has a total of 120 confirmed cases of monkeypox, which is typically not found outside of certain regions of Africa.
Monkeypox is part of the same genetic family as the variola virus which causes smallpox. Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, muscle ache, and a rash that presents as pimples or pustules on the face, feet, genitals, anus, chest, hands or inside of the mouth. It is rarely fatal but can cause significant scarring.
Monkeypox is spread through direct physical contact or through respiration during prolonged, face-to-face contact or physical intimate contact such as kissing or sex.
While there is no specific treatment authorized for monkeypox, patients can be given vaccines and medications made for smallpox because of the viruses’ genetic similarities.
Health experts report that the outbreak of the virus is primarily infecting gay and bisexual men as well as men who have sex with men.
D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser has estimated that the city needs 100,000 doses of the vaccine used to prevent monkeypox and has encouraged residents to preregister to get the shot.
In a July 18 statement, the mayor’s office announced vaccinations would be available for “gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men and have had multiple (more than one) or any anonymous sexual partners in the last 14 days, transgender women or nonbinary persons assigned male at birth who have sex with men, sex workers of any sexual orientation/gender, [and] staff (of any sexual orientation/gender) at establishments where sexual activity occurs (e.g., bathhouses, saunas, sex clubs).”
“While monkeypox infections have been seen before in the U.S. — in two travelers from Nigeria last year and in 47 cases that were linked to imported animals back in 2003 — the current outbreak is by far the largest recorded in American history,” per CBS News.
The CDC reports that there are over 2,320 confirmed cases in America.
Alaska, Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi, Vermont, and Maine are the only states that have no cases of Monkeypox as of July 20.
Across the world, there are 15,378 confirmed cases of the virus. Of those, just 243 have been reported in countries with a history of the virus. The remaining 15,135 have been documented in North America, South America, Europe and Asia.
Spain is experiencing the largest outbreak with 3,125 cases. The U.S. is in second place while the United Kingdom is third with 2,137 cases. Germany (2,110), France (1,453), the Netherlands (656), and Canada (604) are also among the nations with the greatest number of cases in the world.
The World Health Organization held its second emergency meeting on July 21 to debate if it should declare monkeypox a global crisis. AP News reports that health officials in Africa are already treating the monkeypox epidemic as an emergency.