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US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak – Chicago Tribune

WASHINGTON — The federal government declared a public health emergency on Thursday, stepping up its response to the monkeypox epidemic that infected more than 6,600 Americans.

The announcement frees up money and other resources to fight the virus, which can cause fevers, body aches, chills, fatigue, and acne-like bumps on many parts of the body.

“We are ready for the next level in dealing with this virus and urge all Americans to take monkeypox seriously,” said Xavier Becerra, Director of the Department of Health and Human Services. said.

The declaration by HHS comes as the Biden administration faces criticism over the availability of a monkeypox vaccine. Clinics in big cities such as New York and San Francisco have not received enough double-dose vaccine to meet demand and have had to stop offering double-dose vaccines to ensure supplies of the first dose. He said it didn’t.

The White House said it enabled more than 1.1 million doses and helped boost the country’s diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.

The monkeypox virus is spread through prolonged skin-to-skin contact, such as hugging, hugging, kissing, and sharing bedding, towels, and clothing. Those who have gotten sick so far have been mostly men who have sex with men. But health officials stress that the virus can infect anyone.

Earlier this week, the Biden administration named senior officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as White House coordinators to combat monkeypox.

Lawrence Gostin, a public health law expert at Georgetown University, said Thursday’s declaration was an important and overdue step.

“It shows the seriousness and purpose of the U.S. government and sets alarm bells around the world,” he said.

Under the declaration, HHS can draw on emergency funds, hire or redeploy staff to deal with the outbreak, and take other steps to control the virus.

For example, the announcement should help the federal government seek more information from state and local health officials about who has been infected and who has been vaccinated. That information can be used to better understand how the outbreak is unfolding and how effective vaccines are.

Gostin said the U.S. government should have declared a national emergency sooner because it was too cautious. Public health measures to control outbreaks have faced increasing legal challenges in recent years, but Gostin didn’t expect that to happen with monkeypox.

“This is a textbook case of a public health emergency,” Gostin said. “This is not a Red State or Ao State problem. There is no political opposition to fighting monkeypox.”

He noted that the public health emergency could be extended, similar to what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The urgency of the current response stems from the rapid spread of the virus and the limited availability of a two-dose vaccine called Jynneos, considered the main medical weapon against the disease.

Doses given at 28-day intervals are currently being administered to people shortly after they are believed to have been exposed as a means of preventing symptoms.

Becerra announced the state of emergency during a call with reporters. In a call, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Calif said the regulator will reduce supplies by allowing medical professionals to vaccinate up to five people per vial of Gynneos instead of one. He said he was considering an expansion approach.

Under this so-called “dose sparing” approach, doctors and others use shallower injections under the skin rather than the subcutaneous injections currently recommended in vaccine labeling.

Caliph said a decision to approve that approach could be made “within a few days.”

Another declaration would be required to allow the government to change guidelines on how the vaccine should be administered, officials said.

Health officials point to a study published in 2015 that said the Jynneos vaccine administered that way was just as effective at stimulating the immune system as if the plunger of a needle went deep into any other tissue. found to be relevant.

However, experts also acknowledge that they are still gathering information about how effective one or two conventional full doses might be against outbreaks.

Other health agencies have made declarations similar to those issued by HHS.

Last week, the World Health Organization called monkeypox a public health emergency, with cases occurring in more than 70 countries. A global emergency is WHO’s highest level of alert, but this designation does not necessarily mean that the disease is particularly contagious or deadly.

California, Illinois and New York all made declarations last week, as did New York City, San Francisco and San Diego counties.

Greg Gonsalves, an infectious disease expert at Yale University, said the declaration of a national public health emergency and the appointment of Emperor Monkeypox was a “symbolic act.”

The important thing is that the government is taking the necessary steps to control the outbreak and making plans on how to deal with monkeypox should it become an epidemic.

Monkeypox is endemic in parts of Africa and is transmitted to humans through the bites of rodents and small animals. It doesn’t usually spread easily between people.

However, in May, an unexpected wave of cases began to appear in Europe and America. Now he has nearly 26,000 reported cases in countries traditionally free of monkeypox.

Stobbe reported from New York City. Associated Press Health Writer Matthew Perrone contributed to this report.

US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak – Chicago Tribune

Source link US declares public health emergency over monkeypox outbreak – Chicago Tribune

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