(CTN News) – According to HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra, the monkeypox virus is spreading in the United States so rapidly that it has been declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE).
It will strengthen and accelerate the Biden-Harris Administration’s response in recognition of monkeypox’s rapid spread in the U.S. and around the world, and it will signal the urgency with which it is responding.
The announcement follows President Biden’s appointment of Robert Fenton as White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator. Dr. Demetre Daskalakis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also been appointed White House National Monkeypox Response Deputy Coordinator.
The Biden-Harris Administration is committed to ending the monkeypox outbreak. As a result of declaring a public health emergency, we are taking our response to the next level. This declaration can be strengthened and accelerated further with today’s declaration.”
“President Biden has asked us to explore every option available to combat the monkeypox outbreak and protect communities at risk,” said White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator Robert Fenton. We’re applying lessons learned from the battles we’ve fought – from COVID response to wildfires to measles – and will deal with this outbreak with the urgency it demands.
What are the symptoms of monkeypox?
While doctors have expressed that the overall risk to the general public is low — with transmission most often occurring through close personal or sexual contact — WHO’s top monkeypox expert last week reported that 99% of cases outside Africa were in men, and that 98% involved men who have sex with men — the disease is spreading in ways that experts have not seen before.
It is noted by the CDC that MPV can be transmitted via direct contact with rashes, scabs, or bodily fluids. Viruses can also be spread through contact with respiratory droplets or touching objects used by an infected individual.
Which group of people are most at risk?
According to Arwady, all but one of Chicago’s cases have been diagnosed among men who had sex with other men. However, she stressed that the virus does not restrict itself to that community.
A MSM who has multiple or anonymous sexual partners is at an increased risk, according to CDPH.
Vaccination against monkeypox:
Officials can more easily procure MPV vaccine shipments and scale up distribution with these declarations in effect, according to Pritzker’s office.
Despite this, a July 27 update from CDPH indicates that monkeypox vaccine supply is very limited, “though it is expected to ramp up over the next few months as the United States acquires additional doses.”
Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of CDPH, stated Thursday that the city has received 13,000 additional doses this week, but that “it’s still nowhere near meeting the demand.” Arwady also noted that the city is preparing to receive 20,000 additional doses over the next 4-6 weeks.