Newswise — Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health, is available to discuss the rise of Mpox.

“After the initial outbreak of Mpox in the United States in 2022, there was a decline in the spread of the disease,” says Halkitis who is also the director of Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS).

“The outbreak, which was primarily evident in the sexual and gender minority male population was contained and controlled through shifts in health behavior, including the uptake of available vaccines. Throughout 2023, only a handful of cases were detected each month. However, in recent months there has been a spike in infections, with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issuing a warning that indicates a spike in infections. This is coupled with concerns regarding one variant of Mpox known as Clade 1,” he says.

Given the increase in infections, additional measures must be taken to prevent further spread of the disease.

“Recent outbreaks in the New York City area are mostly detected in those who are not fully vaccinated or unvaccinated and mostly among Hispanic and Black men, demonstrating the interplay between location, culture, race, and health behaviors,” notes Halkitis who is also the Hunterdon Professor of Public Health and Health Equity. “Vigilant efforts to uptake vaccination remain critically important, especially among members of this vulnerable population.”