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Former FDA commissioner says the window to control the spread of the monkeypox outbreak ‘probably has closed’

Former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb during a November 7 appearance on “Face the Nation.”

CBS News/Face the Nation

  • Ex-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said the monkeypox outbreak is hard to contain at this point.
  • “We could have gotten control of this if we had been more aggressive up front,” he said.
  • Gottlieb said the US rolled out vaccines too slowly and the window for control of the outbreak “probably has closed.”

Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, said Sunday that the US has likely missed the ball on containing the monkeypox outbreak. 

“I think at this point, we’ve failed to contain this,” Gottlieb said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “We’re now at the cusp of this becoming an endemic virus where this now becomes something that’s persistent that we need to continue to deal with.”

“I think the window for getting control of this and containing it probably has closed, and if it hasn’t closed, it’s certainly starting to close,” he continued.

As of July 15, there are more than 1,800 confirmed monkeypox cases in the United States, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Every single US state, including DC and Puerto Rico, have at least one confirmed case, CDC data say.

Symptoms of monkeypox include fever and a rash or lesions, but the World Health Organization says some people have also experienced atypical symptoms, including anal pain and bleeding, the absence of lesions or lesions that do not spread beyond the genitals.

Monkeypox is most prevalent in men who have sex with men, but experts say it can spread to anyone in close contact to someone with the virus. The CDC recommends those who may have been exposed to monkeypox to avoid sexual or physical contact.

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services announced it would deploy close to 300,000 monkeypox vaccines in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. 

But Gottlieb, in his CBS interview, criticized the US response, saying “we made a lot of the same mistakes that we made with COVID.” 

“This is a slower moving virus, which is why we could have gotten control of this if we had been more aggressive up front,” he said, specifically referencing the slow vaccine rollout. 

“Now this is firmly embedded in the community,” Gottlieb said. “And while it’s not going to explode, because it’s harder for this virus to spread, it’s probably going to be persistent, you’ll-you’ll have this as a sort of a fact of life, maybe spreading as a sexually transmitted disease, but also breaking out of those settings.”

Insider’s Hannah Getuhen contributed to this report.

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