World Biden administration declares monkeypox a national health emergency

Biden administration declares monkeypox a national health emergency

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The skin lesions from monkeypox can be excruciating and require hospitalization for pain control. Photo by Brian W.J. Mahy/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Aug. 4 (BP) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday declared monkeypox a national health emergency.

“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously,” Sec. Becerra tweeted.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are 6,617 confirmed cases of monkeypox in the United States.

The declaration follows the World Health Organization’s July 23 statement that monkeypox has reached the level of a global health emergency.

FDA Commissioner Robert Califf also said Thursday that the agency is considering allowing lower doses of the Bavarian Nordic Jynneos monkeypox vaccine that are one-fifth the licensed dose.

The lower doses would be given via intra-dermal administration and would allow five times as many people to get vaccinated.

The Jynnes vaccine is the only one currently licensed in the United States for monkeypox, which is somewhat similar to smallpox.

According to the CDC, symptoms of monkeypox include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, chills, a rash, exhaustion and respiratory symptoms like coughing and congestion. The symptoms usually start within 3 weeks of exposure and the illness usually lasts 2-4 weeks.

Monkeypox transmission has been mainly spreading among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, but the CDC says anybody is susceptible to infection. The virus can spread during intimate contact, or even by touching objects that have recently been used by someone with monkeypox.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said in July that it may only be a matter of time before Monkeypox spreads into the general population.

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