The U.S. Declared a Monkeypox State of Emergency—Here’s What You Need to Know

According to the most recent statistics, the U.S. monkeypox cases topped 6,600 on Thursday. The Biden administration declared it a public health emergency. dataThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC.

“We’ve prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” Xavier Becerra, the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said in a news briefing on the declaration, per reporting from The New York Times.

A state of emergencyThe declaration is valid for 90 days and can be renewed by HHS Secretary. The declaration gives public health authorities the flexibility to respond to a health crisis in ways they normally can’t—for instance, giving the CDC access to the Infectious Diseases Rapid Response Reserve Fund, which can be used to “prevent, prepare for, or respond to an infectious disease emergency,” per the HHS. Practically, that could mean temporarily appointing public health officials to respond to the crisis or launching investigations into the treatment and prevention of monkeypox (though those specifics aren’t known at this time).

Secretary Becerra also considers a separate declaration, which would give federal officials the power of expediting medical countermeasures (like vaccines against monkeypox) before they finish the normal federal review process. The Washington Post.

The HHS declaration of emergency follows a similar announcement made by the World Health Organization in July, when it declared monkeypox an international public health emergency. “We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,” the WHO director general said in a July 23 statement.

Secretary Beccera’s announcement comes after California, New York, and Illinois individually declared states of emergency due to the monkeypox outbreak—and as the public grows concerned over access to preventative measures (like wide-scale testing) and vaccines. The first monkeypox case of 2022 in the U.S. was reported in Massachusetts in May; in June, the HHS announced an “enhanced nationwide vaccination strategy to mitigate the spread of monkeypox.” A June 28 statementAccording to the strategy, the HHS would provide 296,000 doses Jynneos vaccinations to Americans (the only FDA-approved vaccine that can treat monkeypox).

The vaccine rollout has been slow and residents are finding it difficult to schedule appointments to get vaccinated, even in states with the monkeypox vaccine. This week, The New York TimesThe HHS did not ask Bavarian Nordic, a Demark-based biotechnology company, to bottle the vaccines that the U.S. has for distribution. By the time the ask was made, Bavarian Nordic had taken other orders and said it wouldn’t be able to package the U.S.-owned vaccines for distribution “for months.” To speed up the vaccine distribution process, the government is now trying to find another company that can package the vaccines, per The New York Times.

The state of emergency status highlights the importance of being aware of monkeypox symptoms—and seeing a health care provider if you suspect you’ve been exposed to monkeypox and are experiencing concerning symptoms. These symptoms include a skin rash and fever, muscle aches, backache headache, swelling of the lymph nodes, exhaustion, cold- or flu-like symptoms, and swollen lymph glands. If you’ve been exposed to monkeypox and you’re experiencing symptoms, try to contact the provider you’re going to see before you arrive. You can call or email them ahead of time to let the provider know that they will take precautions to protect yourself (and others) from possible exposure.


Source: Slef

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