California declares a state of emergency over monkey pox outbreak, following New York and Illinois

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The state of California has declared a state of emergency following New York and Illinois in the midst of the monkeypox outbreak.

In response to Illinois’s declaration, California just declared a public health emergency.
New York’s state governor has declared a state disaster emergency as a result of the rapid onset of an outbreak late Friday.

The U.S. has reported close to 6,000 cases of monkeypox. This disease is extremely rare, but all of the U.S. and its territories have reported cases.

There has been a 47% increase in confirmed monkeypox infections in California, Illinois, and New York – which are home to the nation’s three largest cities.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency over the rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak on Monday, becoming the third U.S. state to do so in as many days.

As infection rates rise, demand for vaccines has outpaced supply, leading to Newsom’s declaration of an emergency. There has been a noticeable influx of people coming to clinics and other sites looking for vaccinations, so staff has had a hard time meeting the demand.

Image Source: KSLA

Emergency Medical Services personnel in California will assist with administering the vaccines. Governor Newsom said the state is taking every action at every level of government to reduce the spread of the virus, testing everyone, tracing any contaminated supplies, and working closely with the community.

The public health emergency declaration came one day after Illinois declared the same and after New York’s disaster declaration, earlier Friday.

There have been nearly 6,000 reported cases of monkeypox in the United States, across 48 states, Washington D.C., it has since been confirmed in Puerto Rico, too, which is what health authorities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Boston said this month.

California, Illinois, and New York – which together have the nation’s three largest cities – have reported the highest number of monkeypox cases, with more than one-half of the US’ confirmed cases. New York is the heart of the US’ monkeypox outbreak, with over 1,400 confirmed cases.

Despite it being an unthinkably awful disease, Monkeypox is usually not fatal. None of the US patients who have caught it have died so far. Still, the rash caused by the virus is sometimes so excruciatingly painful. If the outbreak is not controlled, monkeypox could spread permanently in the U.S.

Last month, the WHO declared monkeypox a global health emergency. The WHO has reported more than 19,000 cases of monkeypox in at least 78 countries. The outbreak is unusual because it is spreading throughout North America and Europe. The monkey pox virus has spread sporadically in the past in West and Central Africa, where rodents and other animals carry it.

Monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact during sex. Gay and bisexual men are the most susceptible to contracting it at this point in time, public health officials say. CDC reports that 98% of patients with demographic information identified themselves as men who have sex with men.

According to health officials, monkeypox can only be transmitted by direct contact with those who have the rash characteristic of it or by using contaminated materials like towels and bedsheets. Last month, the CDC confirmed two new cases of children in the U.S. being diagnosed with the virus, and transmission within their families.

From an initial incubation period of a few days, the contagious condition is accompanied by a rash, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, fever, and eye-wink deformities.

Public Health Authorities Weigh a State of Emergency in the U.S.

Image Source: Washington Post

The Biden administration is considering declaring a public health emergency in the U.S., according to senior federal health officials. This would provide resources to state health officials that are fighting the outbreak. In January 2020, the U.S. declared a public health emergency in response to Covid-19.

Members of Congress and local communities have criticized the federal government’s response, but Xavier Becerra, the health secretary, said in a statement last week the Biden administration has ramped up resources to deal with the outbreak. Congress needs to provide funding to support the outbreak response, said Attorney General Eric Becerra.

HHS delivered more than 330,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine to state health departments since May. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced they will be able to send over 786,000 additional doses of the HPV vaccine to areas in the United States in need of a booster. However, despite the exciting new developments, there is still a significant shortage in HPV vaccine stocks for most U.S. clinics who have patients in need of shots.

The FDA approved the two-dose monkeypox vaccine Jynneos in 2019 for people with a high risk of monkeypox or smallpox exposure. Jynneos is the only monkeypox vaccine approved by the FDA in the U.S.

The U.S. now has the capacity to perform 80,000 tests each week, according to the CDC. But the number of confirmed infections in the U.S. clinicians swab the rash to get the specimen for the test, so it is likely an undercount because people can’t get tested until they develop a rash, which can take several weeks in some cases.

Furthermore, the United States has 1.7 million courses of the antiviral treatment tecovirimat in the strategic national stockpile. The CDC cut back on red tape last month to make it easier for physicians to prescribe tecovirimat for monkeypox. Tecovirimat is approved for treating smallpox, however treating monkeypox requires an additional layer of bureaucracy.

Though in the same virus family as smallpox, monkeypox causes much milder symptoms.

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