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U.S. declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency
The Biden administration declared the ongoing monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday, a move that comes amid growing case counts and widening concern over the virus.
By Helen Branswell
Aug. 4, 2022
The Biden administration declared the ongoing monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday, a move that comes amid growing case counts and a groundswell of criticism over the way the administration has handled the outbreak.
“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level on this virus,” Health and Human Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said.
The public health emergency declaration comes nearly two weeks after the World Health Organization declared the unprecedented international spread of the virus a public health emergency of international concern. The outbreak, first detected in the United Kingdom in mid-May, has now seen more than 26,000 cases recorded by more than 80 countries around the globe. More than 6,600 of those cases have been recorded in the U.S.
The declaration of a domestic public health emergency gives the administration more flexibility and powers with which to try to halt spread of the virus. The powers could, among other things, allow the administration to tap into additional federal funds for the response.
Earlier this week, the administration announced the appointment of a White House monkeypox coordinator, Robert Fenton from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Demetre Daskalakis, director of the division of HIV prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was named deputy coordinator.
Transmission of the virus is largely occurring within networks of gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, particularly among those who have multiple or anonymous sexual partners. But the number of cases among women and children — while still low — is rising. In most instances such cases have been either household contacts or sexual partners of confirmed cases.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.