Monkeypox cases have crossed 6,600 in the United States
The United States has declared a monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, Health, and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday,
Health and Human Services Minister Xavier Becerra’s emergency declaration will help mobilize more resources to fight the outbreak. which has spread rapidly since Boston health officials confirmed the first case in the U.S. in May. declared a public health emergency in January 2020 in response to Covid-19.
The U.S. has confirmed more than 6,600 cases of monkeypox in 48 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico as of Thursday, according to the Centers for Disease Control. and prevention. The real number of infections is likely to be higher than official data because patients can only be tested if they develop a rash that can last a week or more after initial exposure to the virus.
“In light of all of these developments and the evolving circumstances on the ground, I would like to announce today that I am declaring a public health emergency,” Becerra told reporters during a call Thursday.
Monkeypox is rarely fatal and there are no fatalities. have been reported in the US so far, but patients often experience debilitating pain from the rash caused by the virus. Eight people have died from the disease worldwide during the current outbreak, mostly in Africa,
Where health systems aren’t as strong as the US. Spain and Brazil over the weekend reported the first confirmed deaths from the virus outside of Africa.
Monkeypox is currently transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sexual intercourse. Gay and bisexual men are currently at the highest risk of infection; public health officials say. Approximately 98% of patients who provided demographic information to clinics identified as male. who have sex with men according to the CDC. But anyone can catch the virus through close physical contact with an infected person or with contaminated material.
Scientists and public health officials are concerned that monkeypox could be permanently circulating in the US. unless quick action is taken to contain the outbreak.
The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency last month. More than 26,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 87 countries, according to CDC data. The United States accounts for 25% of confirmed infections worldwide. Health officials in the United Kingdom were first aware the world to the outbreak in May after confirming several cases there.
The global outbreak is highly unusual, as monkeypox initially spread widely in North America and Europe, where the virus is not normally found. Historically, monkeypox has spread at low levels in remote parts of West and Central Africa, where rodents and other animals spread the virus. Human-to-human transmission has historically been relatively rare, with the virus typically jumping from animals to humans.
The largest outbreaks in the US are in New York, California, Illinois, Florida, Georgia, Texas, and D.C. New York, Illinois and California declared state emergencies prior to the federal declaration.
Public health officials are concerned that the virus could spread more widely as infections rise in the general population’s homes. Although physical contact during sexual intercourse is currently the main transmission mode, people can also contract monkeypox from hugging, kissing, and contaminated towels and sheets.
State and local emergencies
Last month, the CDC confirmed the first cases of monkeypox in the U.S. in children, a toddler in California, and an infant whose family is traveling on D.C. The infant’s family is not resident in the U.S. The children have symptoms but are in good health and are receiving antiviral treatment tecovirimat, according to the CDC. According to the CDC, young children likely caught the virus through transmission within their families.
Monkeypox can also be spread through respiratory droplets when people have lesions in their mouths, but this requires prolonged face-to-face contact, according to the CDC. Health officials don’t believe monkeypox spreads through small aerosol particles like Covid. Respiratory droplets are heavier so they don’t stay airborne as long, while Covid is an airborne virus, which is one of the reasons it’s so contagious.
Monkeypox usually starts with flu-like symptoms and then develops into a painful rash that can spread in the body. But the symptoms of the current outbreak have been unusual. Some people develop a rash first, while others have a rash without flu-like symptoms. Absolutely. According to public health officials, many people have localized lesions on the genitals or anus.
Patients typically recover within two to four weeks without additional medical treatment, according to the CDC. But some people are hospitalized because the rash is so painful.
Health officials are also concerned that as monkeypox spreads across the United States, the virus could take hold in animal populations, making it even more difficult to eliminate from the country.
Vaccine, testing, and antiviral supply
The federal government has shipped more than 600,000 doses of the monkeypox vaccine, called Jynneos, to state and local health authorities since May. CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky admitted last month that demand for the vaccine is outstripping supply, leading to long lines outside clinics. and protests in some cities.
HHS provided local authorities with 786,000 doses to start ordering last Friday, which could help solve supply problems.
Currently, the United States does not have real-world data on how effective vaccines are in preventing disease in the current outbreak, according to the CDC. The vaccination campaign is aimed at people with confirmed or suspected exposure and at men who have sex because they are at the highest risk of infection.