BUFFALO (WKBW) — The New York State Department of Health has declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health. In an effort to learn more about the virus we reached out to local health expert Dr. Thomas Russo who the Chief of Infectious Disease at the University at Buffalo.
"We've now had a little more than 6,000 cases of monkeypox in the United States," Dr. Russo told 7 News Anchor Jeff Russo. "About half of those cases have been in California, New York and Illinois. Home of the three largest cities in this country." "I think we are going to have an increasing number in the short term," added Dr. Russo
How transmissible is monkeypox?
"Monkeypox is much much much less transmissible then SARS-CoV-2, the cause of COVID-19", said Dr. Russo. "It requires prolonged skin to skin contact, which most commonly occurs during sexual activity. However, it can also be transmitted by bed sheets or towels that have been contaminated from individuals who have active lesions, or more prolonged face to face contact where respiratory droplets are exchanged."
"You don't need to worry about acquiring monkeypox in a grocery store, a train, a subway, or a plane. It requires intimate contact," added Dr. Russo.
What do we know about the vaccine?
"We have a vaccine that should be able to prevent monkeypox. I think it is about 85 percent efficacious but we really don't have any real world data. I think we are going to learn more about how effective it is. Having said that I think vaccination is going to be the secret for getting this outbreak under control," said Russo.
We are getting ready to go back to school. What should parents be thinking about with kids heading back to school in the fall?
"I don't think parents need to be overly concerned heading back to school. They are at very low risk for acquiring the disease because transmission requires that prolonged intimate contact. It's unlikely to happen with our children," said Dr. Russo.