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USA Declares Monkeypox A National Health Emergency

The Biden administration declared monkeypox a national emergency on 4 August.

Updated
Health News
2 min read
USA Declares Monkeypox A National Health Emergency
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The United States declared monkeypox a national health emergency on Thursday, 4 August.

This now means that the US can begin emergency measures against the spread of the virus which has infected at least 6,600 people in the US alone.

Worldwide, monkeypox cases have crossed the 26,000 mark, with 88 countries now reporting cases. Of these, 81 countries had never reported a case of monkeypox till 2022.

This declaration marks only the fifth time that the country has declared a state of emergency since 2001.

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated monkeypox as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) AKA a global emergency, on 23 July 2022.

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The declaration of Emergency, which was announced by US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, allows the government to accelerate vaccine evaluations, fund allocations, and access to emergency funds to hire workers to help with the outbreak response.

Monkeypox, which was conventionally endemic to just seven countries in West and Central Africa, began spreading mysteriously in people in non-endemic countries with no prior travel history to these parts.

The WHO has yet to ascertain how this monkeypox outbreak began.

While monkeypox does not spread through airborne transmission, it can spread through close skin-to-skin contact, infected clothing/bedding, and unsafe/unhygienic sexual contact or practices.

While experts have called monkeypox a "self-limiting" disease, which means it usually goes away on its own after a few weeks, the widespread distribution of cases and atypical symptoms displayed by patients in this outbreak have led to countries like the USA, Australia, and Singapore stocking up on vaccines for the virus

A specific monkeypox vaccine doesn't exist, however, the WHO has advocated the use of repurposed smallpox vaccines to fight the virus.

At present, the US is using repurposed smallpox vaccine Jynneos to inoculate citizens. However, the US government has stated that they do not have enough stock at present.

The country's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suggested changing the course of vaccinations and administering vaccines differently to vaccinate more people with the existing stores of vaccines.

The approach would involve administering the vaccine between layers of skin, rather than under the layer of fat as is convention. This is expected to meet the vaccine requirements with a fraction of the vaccine quantity.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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