Michigan’s top doctor says the state is confident it can still limit transmission of monkeypox, even as cases continue to grow daily.
Dr. Natasha Bagdasarian, Michigan’s chief medical executive, spoke about the outbreak in an interview on Local 4′s Sunday program Flashpoint.
“Here in Michigan, we still have a chance to really contain transmission at this point,” Bagdasarian said, adding that outbreaks in larger cities like New York are going to be harder to contain. “I think now we’re focused on preventing as much transmission as we possibly can.”
As of Friday, more than 70 cases of monkeypox had been confirmed in Michigan. With the upcoming school year and eventually holiday season coming up, officials are hoping to keep case spread low.
“Now is the time to be talking to the public, doing outreach and education about how this virus spreads, what the rash looks like, what the signs and symptoms are, and what we want people to do if they’re concerned,” Bagdasarian said.
The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. No one in the United States has died. A few deaths have been reported in other countries. It was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. The source of the disease is still unknown. The first human case was recorded in 1970.
The federal government declared a public health emergency Thursday to bolster the response to the monkeypox outbreak that has infected more than 7,100 Americans.
Bagdasarian said the emergency is important because it opens resources like testing materials, contact tracing and case investigation, outreach and vaccines to states to be able to monitor spread more proactively.
Bagdasarian also talked about how fatigue from the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting public outreach efforts on monkeypox.
Watch the full interview with Dr. Bagdasarian in the video player above.