Monkeypox: How the White House plans to control outbreak

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WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) – Monkeypox is spreading quickly in the U.S. and health leaders are trying to contain the outbreak. The White House announced a plan this week to target the disease.

The news about the contagious outbreak may feel like Deja vu after the COVID pandemic. However, Dr. Richard Kennedy with the Mayo Clinic says there are notable distinctions.

“There are some very important differences. Monkeypox does not spread nearly as easily as COVID-19,” Kennedy said.

Monkeypox is generally spread through close or intimate contact and is rarely deadly.

What is similar is how the disease is handled – through containment, testing and vaccines. That’s what Assistant Press Secretary Kevin Munoz says the White House is doing.

“We are well prepared for this moment for the tests and the treatments that we need,” Munoz said.

The White House announced a plan to try to control monkeypox in the U.S., including working with major lab companies to increase testing and sending out tens of thousands of stockpiled vaccine doses with priority for high-risk areas.

“Our focus is on making sure communities and jurisdictions know they have those resources so we can stop the spread as quickly as possible,” Munoz said.

The CDC is now recommending the vaccine for anyone who may have had close contact with someone infected with monkeypox.

Right now health officials believe the disease is mostly circulating among men who have sex with men.

“For most people the risk of encountering this virus right now is really, really low,” Kennedy said.

While the case count is currently low, Dr. Kennedy says the White House is right to act now.

“There’s going to be a lag time as we get these procedures and processes in place. So we will see more cases, we will see it spread. But I do think at this point we can get a handle on it and we can control it,” Kennedy said.

The Biden administration feels their proactive steps put the U.S. in a good position.

“We’re not going to put our feet off the gas. We know that we want to stop the spread and we want to avoid any severe outcomes,” Munoz said.

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