New York City has ended their mpox outbreak after months of successful community outreach and vaccination campaigns.
After very low transmission for 2 consecutive months New York City has declared their mpox (formerly monkeypox) outbreak is over. The United States’ most populated city was the epicenter of the mpox outbreak, but rapid implementation of various response strategies enabled NYC to stop the spread.
The mpox federal public health emergency expired on January 31, and NYC’s declaration followed a day later. At the time of the announcement, NYC reported successfully vaccinating more than 100000 New Yorkers.
Additionally, said health commissioner Ashwin Vasan ScM, MD, PhD, NYC “was the first in the nation to pilot effective strategies, driving both public awareness and official response strategies. Combined with widespread and deep community partnerships, leadership from affected communities and advocates, and the steadfast engagement of providers and many others, we have dramatically reduced transmission, and are better prepared for future outbreaks.”
Mpox first began spreading in NYC in May 2022, and mayor Eric Adams declared a local state of emergency on August 1, 2022. NYC led the nation’s vaccination and contact tracing efforts, offering vaccines as pre-exposure prophylaxis to at-risk populations and as post-exposure prophylaxis to exposed individuals.
As a zoonotic Orthopoxvirus, mpox is a member of the smallpox family, which enabled previously stockpiled smallpox vaccines to be rolled out during the outbreak. Mpox causes a signature blister-like rash that can range from itchy to extremely painful. It is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact, or through the bodily fluids of an infected person.
Mpox infections disproportionately occurred in men who have sex with men (MSM). Because the virus is largely transmitted via skin-to-skin contact, it easily infiltrated sexual communities.
Broken down by race and ethnicity, approximately 35% of NYC’s mpox cases occurred in individuals who identified as Hispanic/Latino, 27% in Black/African American individuals, 22.4% in White individuals, 3.6% in Asian American and Pacific Islander individuals, and 1.7% in individuals who identified as “another race.”
Even though the outbreak is over, mpox transmission continues at a low level in the city. Thus, health care providers should continue to test patients for mpox if they present with plausible symptoms.
NYC will continue to offer mpox vaccines by appointment, as well as testing and treatment. Individuals who suspect they are infected should immediately contact their health care provider, or call 311 to connect with NYC Health + Hospitals.