Dr. Jerome Adams discusses latest development on monkeypox

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Monkeypox was the topic Thursday of Dr. Jerome Adams, a medical expert and former U. S. surgeon general, on News 8 at 5 p.m.

Earlier this week, the World Health Organization declared the rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak to be a global health emergency.

Also, Marion and Tippecanoe counties on Thursday reported new cases.

There are 37 cases of monkeypox in Indiana and 4,639 cases nationwide, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adams said that WHO’s declaration means “leaders from around the world came together and determined that they need to prioritize this issue and declaring it an emergency means that these different countries will coordinate funding to coordinate data collection, and they’ll actually come up with a collective strategy to address monkeypox instead of these one-offs in different countries.”

He added that “it’s really more about prioritizing the issue and helping people understand this is serious.”

An anesthesiologist, Adams said the “average person” has a low risk for monkeypox. However, he added that “we know that men who have sex with men still constitute over 90% of the cases. We want those individuals to know how to stay safe.”

“Monkeypox are spread by … close, personal contact, rubbing up against each other. It can be spread through clothing, but it is very rare; for instance, like someone sitting on a seat to be the way it spread. Mostly it’s men having sex with men. You’re having cases of pregnant women now getting monkeypox. The chances of your plane having to make an emergency landing are greater than the chances of … you getting monkeypox on the plane. But that said, if you want to wipe your seat down with the wipes that they give you, go ahead because it may decrease your chance of getting flu or other viruses out there.”

Should monkeypox be considered a sexually transmitted disease? “It’s been spread just by people living together in households close contact. This outbreak is different because we’re seeing men who have sex with men being the primary people who are impacted, but that’s because having sex is close, personal contact. It’s not that it’s inherently an STD. And to your point, it can actually harm us because we’re seeing the same stigma and homophobia that we saw with HIV. We don’t want to again think this isn’t going to spread. We’ve got over 80 cases now worldwide of kids who have monkeypox. The United States reported two just this week.”

As far as the federal response to monkeypox, Adams said the government needs to provide more supply to vaccinate folks.

More information on monkeypox is available on the CDC’s website.