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Dr. Fauci Just Issued This Monkeypox Warning

US monkeypox cases are now in the thousands.
FACT CHECKED BY Emilia Paluszek

The US now has one of the highest levels of monkeypox infection in the world, with 3,590 known cases according to the CDC. Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical advisor to the President and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, appeared on NPR's All Things Considered and reiterated the importance of curbing the outbreak. "This is a virus. You fight the virus. You don't stigmatize the people who are inflicted with the virus. You reach out to the community," says Dr. Fauci. "You make it very easy for them to have access to testing, to treatment, and to vaccines, as opposed to making it a situation where people are afraid to come forward for those types of things." Here is what Dr Fauci wants you to know about the monkeypox outbreak. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.


Learning Lessons from HIV and AIDS

couple in live holding hads while lying in bed together

Dr Fauci has previously spoken of his pride in helping lead the fight against HIV and AIDS, and is worried monkeypox will have the same homophobic stigma attached. "We need to get our arms around understanding just the extent of the spread, how it's spread, what population. Right now it's focused – because it's about 99% – among men who have sex with men," says Dr. Fauci. "We've got to understand the modality of transmission, the manifestations, also the risk for people like children and pregnant women. There's really a profound risk. Now, right now, thank goodness, we have a report of only two cases in children, but they're all at risk populations."


Vaccines and Antivirals Are Available

Woman in medical protective mask getting injection in arm vaccination.

"What we've got to absolutely implement now is that we now have something that we did not really have early on. We have, right now, vaccines," says Dr. Fauci. "We have good antivirals. We have tests, and we have an etiologic agent that we have experience with. And as you mentioned, it is important to point out that the mortality of this is really very low. That doesn't mean we don't take it seriously because some of these lesions in monkeypox are really quite painful to the individuals who get afflicted with this. And you have to take that seriously even though the mortality of this is really quite low. This is an evolving situation."


High-Risk Populations Should Get Vaxxed First


Doctor holding syringe, medical injection in hand with glove.

Dr. Fauci is recommending that people who are most at risk get vaccinated first. "If you look at the truly broad protective nature, you really want to get people who are at risk because of behavior," Dr Fauci explains. "For example, the MSM (men who have sex with men) population who are on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV—the very fact that they are on pre-exposure prophylaxis for HIV would immediately put them into that classification where they very likely should get vaccinated in a preventive way. So there are two pills to that; one in which you know you've been exposed — clearly those people — but ultimately, people who are at risk through sexual networks or what have you."


Take Underestimate Monkeypox

Cheerful mature doctor in face mask posing at camera, healthcare and medicine.

"This is something we definitely need to take seriously," says Dr. Fauci. "We don't know the scope and the potential of it yet, but we have to act like it will have the capability of spreading much more widely than it's spreading right now."


Is Monkeypox An Emergency Situation?


The monkeypox outbreak hasn't been declared an emergency yet, but that could change very quickly. "That's something that's obviously under active consideration," Dr. Fauci says. "We're doing well, but we've got to do much better… There's an entire layered group of people who are at risk."

Ferozan Mast
Ferozan Mast is a science, health and wellness writer with a passion for making science and research-backed information accessible to a general audience. Read more about Ferozan