US health officials said Friday they have 21 cases of monkeypox in the United States, where the disease may have started to spread locally, and are aware of more than 700 cases worldwide.

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Of the cases present in the United States, 20 have been detected in 11 states, and another has been detected and infected abroad.

The vast majority of U.S. cases are linked to overseas travel, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the nation’s top federal health agency. But a few others are linked to other known cases in the United States, and for one person, the source of infection has not been identified at this time.

“There could be local transmission within the population,” warned Jennifer McQuiston, in charge of the CDC’s response to the disease, at a press conference. However, “we still believe that the public health risk is low,” she reassured.

No deaths linked to these new cases have yet been recorded in the United States or in the world, she said.

Monkeypox is an infectious disease that is characterized by the appearance of rashes, which can be painful, especially if they are in sensitive areas such as the genitals.

Transmission requires close and prolonged contact between two people, and is mainly via saliva or pus from skin lesions formed during infection.

The majority of American cases are in gay men, hence targeted campaigns to raise awareness in this population — but the disease can affect anyone.

“We are working very hard to contain” the disease, said Jennifer McQuiston, so that it does not become endemic as it is the case in several countries in Africa.

“The United States strategy is focused on identifying cases, people who have been in contact with them, and making sure that the vaccine is offered to them, and that the cases are isolated,” she said. Explain.

Two vaccines, called ACAM2000 and Jynneos, have been deployed, along with antiviral treatment. Some 1,200 vaccines and around 100 treatments have been sent to eight US jurisdictions, a White House official said.

At the end of May, it was said that the United States had 1,000 doses of Jynneos and 100 million of ACAM2000, but these figures have changed, the CDC said on Friday, without wanting to detail.

“We have enough vaccines to handle the current epidemic,” said Dawn O’Connell of the US Department of Health.