America will have the biggest monkeypox outbreak in the world within days, statistics suggest amid ramped up testing that is picking up the disease in areas where it had previously spread ‘uninterrupted’.
But by population — which takes into account the U.S. having seven-times more people — America’s has about one case per 100,000 people compared to Spain’s tally of seven per 100,000. Its infection rate is also below many other European countries including the UK and Germany (both at three per 100,000).
The U.S. may also now be carrying out more tests for the disease than its European neighbors — meaning it is more likely to detect cases, after it expanded capacity from 10,000 to 80,000 swabs per week.
Dr Bill Hanage, an epidemiologist at Harvard University, warned that it was ‘reasonable’ to suggest America’s cases tally would ‘outpace’ those in other nations. He said the surge was in part down to the surge in testing, which was detecting monkeypox in areas where it had previously spread under the radar.
Experts fear the disease has already spilled over into more vulnerable groups, such as children under eight years old that health officials say are at high risk of severe disease. Two children — in California and ‘transiting through’ D.C. — have tested positive for monkeypox to date, the CDC says.
America’s response to monkeypox was slammed for being too slow to roll out tests and vaccinations at the start of the outbreak, especially to gay or bisexual men where most cases are being recorded. No deaths have been registered to date but several patients have been hospitalized.