Monkeypox: US declares outbreak a public health emergency

Image credit: BBC

The US government declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency as a result of an increase in cases.

The decision will speed up the distribution of drugs, vaccines, and federal funds meant to curb the virus’s spread.

The World Health Organization (WHO) issued its highest emergency alert owing to an increase in cases globally less than two weeks before it happened.

Health experts estimate that there are now more than 6,600 cases in the US.

A fourth of these incidents have occurred in the state of New York, which last week declared its state of emergency as a result of the illness.

This week, states in California with the next-highest caseloads declared states of emergency.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that this year, more than 26,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide.

Some public health professionals are concerned that the declaration of an emergency could further stigmatise the disease. Although anyone can get monkeypox, men who have had sex with other men have had the majority of instances.

However, not only can STIs be transmitted through sexual activity; but close contact with an infected person can also do so.

The infection typically causes the growth and spread of itchy, extremely painful rashes that mimic pimples.

Those who are most at risk of exposure, including some gay and bisexual men and some healthcare professionals, have been recommended by officials in the US and other nations to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

Despite claims that there is a widespread shortage of monkeypox vaccinations and treatments, the announcement on Thursday nonetheless took place.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that through May of next year, more than five million extra doses would be given.

This week, the White House also made known that a team had been established to plan and lead the nation’s response against monkeypox.

Additionally, there is Dr Demetre Daskalakis, a medical professional from New York who has successfully led initiatives to halt the spread of HIV in the US.

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