The United States declared monkeypox a public health emergency on Thursday, a move that is expected to free up new funds, help with data collection and enable the deployment of additional personnel to fight the disease.
“We are ready to take our response to the next level to fight this virus, and we urge all Americans to take monkeypox seriously and take responsibility for helping us fight this virus,” the official said. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on a call. .
The declaration, which is initially in effect for 90 days but can be renewed, came as cases nationwide topped 6,600 on Thursday, about a quarter of them in New York state.
Experts believe the true number could be much higher in the current outbreak because symptoms can be subtle, including single lesions.
The United States has so far delivered some 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines – originally developed against the monkeypox-like virus, smallpox – but that figure is still far from the roughly 1.6 million people considered most at risk and who most need the vaccine.
Some 99% of cases in the United States so far have been in men who have sex with men, the Department of Health and Human Services said last week, and that’s what population authorities target in the national immunization strategy.
Unlike previous outbreaks in Africa, the virus is now mainly spread through sexual activity – but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say other routes are also possible, including sharing bedding, clothing and face contact. with extended face.
The US statement comes after the World Health Organization also designated the outbreak an emergency last month – which it reserves for diseases of greatest concern.
Also on Thursday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said his agency is considering a decision that would allow clinicians to administer five doses of the vaccine based on one dose from existing vials.
The vaccine is currently administered subcutaneously, but the new approach would be to administer it intradermally, at a shallower angle.
It “basically means sticking the needle in the skin and creating a little pocket there for the vaccine to go into, so it’s really nothing very unusual,” Mr Califf said.