Monkeypox Philadelphia: City launches online portal to track cases and vaccines

The city launched an online monkeypox tracker with data about cases and vaccines on Monday as the virus spreads rapidly across the city and the nation.

There have been 82 monkeypox cases in Philadelphia so far, up from 33 two weeks ago. The first case was detected on June 2.

So far, Philly has administered 61% of the 2,625 doses it’s received from the federal government and expects to get about 6,000 more in the coming months.

The portal will be updated by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health weekly on Mondays.

Although Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, cases are most common among the LGBTQ+ community and men who have sex with other men – particularly those who have multiple partners.

That’s why on Thursday a group of activists held a press conference to demand that the city procure more vaccines and do more testing.

“We need to test, treat everybody, vaccinate everybody,” said Jazmyn Henderson, a member of ACT UP Philadelphia, a non-profit focused on AIDS. “If we don’t do something about it, that means we’ve learned nothing from the lessons of Covid that just happened, nor the last 40 years of the HIV crisis.”

The vaccines are currently in extremely short supply across the nation. That’s why Philadelphia is prioritizing people who have been exposed to the disease.

Otherwise, the vaccine is currently only available to members of the LGBTQ+ community who have had multiple partners in the past two weeks or tested positive for a sexually transmitted infection in the last three months.

Those who believe they were exposed or are unsure if they’re eligible can call the city at (215) 685-5488 for more information about the vaccine.

The Center for Disease Control is keeping track of all the cases across the country.

In Pennsylvania, officials have counted 161 cases. New Jersey has had 155, but those have been concentrated in the northern part of the state.

New York is still the epicenter of the virus with 1,390 cases. Runner-up California has 827.

Nationwide, there have now been 5,811 cases, with that number roughly doubling every week.

The U.S. has had more positive tests than anywhere else in the world. On Monday, President Joe Biden is expected to appoint two public health officials to coordinate the national response.

Robert Fenton, who helped lead the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s COVID-19 vaccination effort, will be the White House coordinator. His deputy will be Demetre Daskalakis, the director of the CDC’s HIV prevention division and a national expert on LGBTQ+ health.

This news comes a little more than a week after the World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a global emergency. There have been 23,620 cases worldwide.

The virus has existed in central and west Africa for decades, but this is the first time disease has spread rapidly beyond that region.

It usually begins with a fever. Then, within one to three days the rash will begin.

Symptoms usually last for two to four weeks and can include headaches, chills and swollen lymph nodes.

The best way to prevent infection is to avoid skin-to-skin contact with anyone who has a rash that resembles the virus and to wash your hands often.

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