Monkeypox outbreak: US cases top 6,600, Biden calls it public health emergency

In order to free up new funds and assist in data gathering, US President Joe Biden declared monkeypox a public health emergency.

Warning of the need for swift action to contain the outbreak, experts pointed out that nationwide cases topped 6,600 with around a quarter of them from New York state.

Health and Human Services secretary Xavier Becerra said in a call ”We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus.”

Welcoming the emergency declaration over monkeypox, Biden’s medical advisor Anthony Fauci said “Hopefully it’ll stay at a very, very low level that you can contain.”

Since symptoms in the current global outbreak have included subtle signs observers believe the real number of cases could be much higher than official figures suggest.

As the presentation is similar to common sexually transmitted infections this can lead to cases being missed or misdiagnosed.

Out of 1.6 million people considered at the highest risk, the US has so far delivered only 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines which were originally developed for smallpox.

According to Dawn O’Connell, a senior HHS official, the US will receive its next shipment of 150,000 JYNNEOS vaccines by September due to supply chain constraints.

Under the national vaccination strategy, men who have sex with men are being targetted for vaccination as they comprise of 99 per cent cases in the US.

Suggesting to reduce their number of sexual partners until vaccinated, authorities are carrying out specific outreach efforts to the MSM community.

Adopting an approach that would allow five times as many people to be vaccinated based on the same supply, US Food and Drug Administration commissioner Robert Califf said his agency was considering changing the way the vaccine is injected.

The new technique would involve administering it within the skin, at a more shallow angle as the vaccine is currently administered underneath the skin.

(With inputs from agencies)

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