Dr Scott Gottlieb says the rise in monkeypox cases suggests it has spread “fairly widely”

The growing number of monkeypox cases in the United States and Europe suggests that the virus has already spread widely in communities, but will likely not cause a major outbreak like Covid, Pfizer’s board member and former FDA commissioner, the dr. Scott Gottlieb told CNBC on Friday.

“Now that there has been a spread of the community, it may be difficult to completely snub this. I don’t think it will become a major epidemic because this is a difficult virus to spread, “the former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner said on “Grinding box.”

Monkeypox is a rare viral disease that begins with flu-like symptoms and swollen lymph nodes, then progresses to a rash on the body and face. Monkeypox is spread through open contact with an infected person’s sores and has a long incubation period of 21 days or more, according to Gottlieb. He said this meant that many people could incubate the virus as infected patients were likely undiagnosed or misdiagnosed.

Gottlieb’s remarks come two days later US health officials have confirmed a case of the viruss in a Massachusetts man who recently traveled to Canada. The New York City Department of Health said Thursday that it is investigating a possible case in a man who is being treated at NYC Health + Hospitals Bellevue.

Monkeypox, which resurfaced in Nigeria in 2017, has spread to several countries in recent weeks, leaving health officials scurrying to warn doctors and the public of the virus.

Gottlieb added that there have been numerous disconnected cases, indicating that the spread in the community is “fairly broad”. He said there may be a lot more infection than health officials have found since it has such a long incubation period and doctors still don’t know how to look for it.

But he said the United States may simply see a low level of spread that “becomes difficult to stop” as it may be difficult to implement public health measures, such as mass immunization using the Vaccinia virus vaccine.

He noted that the virus is endemic in some countries, with the Democratic Republic of the Congo reporting five to 10,000 cases per year.

“This is the concern, not a widespread epidemic here at this point. But this is just a persistent low-level spread, cases popping up here and there, ”Gottlieb said.

However, he pointed out that the virus may still be dangerous. The mortality rate from spreading the strain is between 1 percent and 4 percent, according to Gottlieb. He described it as a “disabling” virus that can last for two to four months, causing fever and sores.

The CDC on Wednesday urged doctors to identify patients with rash diseases compatible with monkeypox. People suspected of having the virus should be isolated in a negative pressure room – spaces used to isolate patients – and staff should wear appropriate personal protective equipment around them, according to the agency.

Disclosure: Dr. Scott Gottlieb is a CNBC associate and a board member of Pfizer, the genetic testing start-up Tempus, the health technology company Aetion, and the biotech company. Illuminate. He also holds the role of co-chair of Norwegian Cruise Line participations‘ And Royal Caribbean“Sound sail panel”.