Most Hospitalized Monkeypox Patients in the U.S. Were H.I.V.-Positive
The outbreak of monkeypox in North America is continuing, and hospitalizations have started up over the past two weeks. The number of hospitalized patients in the U.S. is rising, but the majority of infected people have not been reported to be ill. That means it may be difficult for hospitals to know if they are prepared for this epidemic without accurate information about how many people are ill, and which ones may be contagious.
It takes only a few contacts with smallpox or monkeypox skin lesions for a person to become infected. Once infected, these people can spread the disease by infecting others, and then having contacts with them.
The CDC has reported five cases of monkeypox that required hospitalization or contact isolation. No hospitalizations or contact isolation recommendations have been made for these five cases. In addition to the two in New York, there are at least four other cases in Pennsylvania, including one reported in Philadelphia.
The CDC has not released information on the hospitals admitting the patients, but two or three people who have come back to Philadelphia from travel to other countries have contracted the disease. In addition, one or two family members of two of the hospitalized patients have also contracted the disease, most likely by being in contact with the infected persons at the hospital.
However, the hospitalization rate from the five cases is still over 50 percent, which the Health Ranger recommends is much higher than the percentage of the population exposed to the virus.
I asked CDC whether the hospitalization rate might be inflated by misdiagnosis or misidentification of the disease. The CDC’s official answers to my questions were that the rate of hospitalizations is “likely to be underestimated” because it is based on misdiagnosis or misidentification of the disease.
However, the CDC is now saying that it is continuing to investigate exactly which patients were misidentified as having monkeypox.
The new cases identified since late August may represent