Health & Fitness : Biden administration declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency in US

Biden administration declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency in US

The Biden administration is declaring monkeypox a public health emergency as the U.S. outbreak has grown into the largest in the world, the nation’s top health official said Thursday.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra’s emergency declaration will help mobilize more resources to fight the outbreak, which has spread swiftly since health authorities in Boston confirmed the first U.S. case in May. The last time the U.S. declared a public health emergency was in response to Covid-19 in January 2020.

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 higher than the official data because patients can only get tested after they develop a rash, which can take a week or more after the initial exposure to the virus.

“In light of all of these developments and the evolving circumstances on the ground, I want to make an announcement today that I will be declaring a public health emergency,” Becerra told reporters during a call on Thursday.

Monkeypox is rarely fatal and no deaths have been reported in the U.S. so far, but patients often suffer debilitating pain from the skin rash caused by the virus. Eight people have died from the disease across the world during the current outbreak, primarily in Africa where the health systems aren’t as robust as the U.S. Spain and Brazil reported the first confirmed deaths from the virus outside Africa over the weekend.

Monkeypox is primarily spreading through skin-to-skin contact during sex at the moment. Gay and bisexual men are at the highest risk of infection right now, public health officials say. About 98% of patients who provided demographic information to clinics identified as men who have sex with men, according to the CDC. But anyone can catch the virus through close physical contact with someone who is infected or contaminated materials.

Scientists and public health officials are worried that monkeypox could circulate permanently in the U.S. if swifter action is not taken to contain the outbreak.

The WHO declared monkeypox a global health emergency last month. More than 26,000 monkeypox cases have been reported across 87 countries, according to CDC data. The U.S. makes up 25% of confirmed infections worldwide. Health authorities in the U.K. first alerted the world to the outbreak in May after confirming several cases there.

The global outbreak is highly unusual because monkeypox is for the first time spreading 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 carry the virus. Transmission between people was relatively rare in the past, with the virus typically jumping from animals to humans.

Re: Biden administration declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency i

As if the world didn't have enough problems as it were,.

Re: Biden administration declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency i

Monkeypox is primarily spreading through skin-to-skin contact during sex at the moment. Gay and bisexual men are at the highest risk of infection right now, public health officials say. About 98% of patients who provided demographic information to clinics identified as men who have sex with men, according to the CDC. But anyone can catch the virus through close physical contact with someone who is infected or contaminated materials.
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