Written by on August 5, 2022

The Biden administration is declaring a public health emergency for the Monkeypox outbreak in the United States, which now counts more infections from the virus than any other country in the world. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra announced the decision at a briefing with top public health officials Thursday.

Robert Fenton, the newly appointed White House national Monkeypox response coordinator, said at the briefing

This public health emergency will allow us to explore additional strategies to get vaccines and treatments more quickly out to the impacted communities. And it will allow us to get more data from jurisdictions so we can effectively track and attack this outbreak

Over the last decade, nationwide emergency declarations like this have previously been made only for the Covid-19 pandemic, the Opioid crisis, and the Zika Virus outbreak in 2017.

The public health emergency declaration could pave the way for the United States Centre for Disease Control(CDC) to deploy more staff to respond to the outbreak and to compel hospitals to share more data to track Monkeypox patients. It could also help clear the way for resources to scale up vaccinations.

Since last week, the administration says it has distributed some 266,000 doses of the Jynneos Monkeypox Vaccine to states and territories that have ordered doses. Another 150,000 doses initially slated for delivery from vaccine maker Bavarian Nordic in October have been accelerated to September.

On Wednesday, the CDC said it had cumulated at least 6,617 infections across the country. All but two states — Montana and Wyoming — have reported spotting at least one infection.

CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said.

We do expect cases will continue to rise, as we’ve had more access to testing, people had more access to testing, before they go down again.

Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. The virus is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Its symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder, and Monkeypox is rarely fatal and is not related to chickenpox.

The majority of infections are still believed to be spreading through close intimate contact among men who have sex with men. While no deaths have been reported yet in the States, patients often endure at times excruciatingly painful rashes and lesions that can last from days to weeks.

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