The federal government declared a public health emergency on Thursday to bolster the response to the monkeypox outbreak that has infected more than 6,600 Americans.
The declaration by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) comes as health officials have been broadcasting their worries over the lack of monkeypox vaccine availability. Clinics in major cities such as New York and San Francisco say they haven’t received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand, and some have had to stop offering the second dose to ensure the supply of first doses. Declaring the emergency announcement will free up money and other resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue, and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.
Transmitted by skin-to-skin contact, monkeypox was at first thought to be just a sexually transmitted disease because the people who have gotten sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men. But health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone, as it can be spread by hugging, cuddling, and kissing an infected person, as well as sharing bedding, towels, and clothing with someone carrying the virus.
The Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency, with cases on the rise across the US.
— CNN (@CNN) August 4, 2022
But it’s not just major metropolitan cities facing outbreaks. Washington State is just one example, reporting that monkeypox cases there are doubling nearly every week, concerning state health officials as the vaccine supply runs short.
BREAKING: U.S. officials plan to declare monkeypox a public health emergency, as cases top 6,600 nationwide, two sources familiar with the matter tell NBC News. pic.twitter.com/94DjcNUU6v
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) August 4, 2022
Monkeypox presents first with fever, malaise, and lymph node enlargement, often with headaches and sweating. The rash breaks out in two to four days, beginning as macules and passing through papules, vesicles, and pustules. These lesions eventually scab and fall off.
Monkeypox has been endemic in Africa for five years, and already has a viable vaccine and treatment on the market. Denmark-based Bavarian Nordic, the maker of JYNNEOS, is currently the only player on the market. But it has struggled to meet even the current demand over manufacturing woes as cases rise, though not nearly at the pace of COVID.
The White House will declare monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday as cases climb in the United States, according to multiple outlets. pic.twitter.com/6xynvDOqZN
— Forbes (@Forbes) August 4, 2022