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US Declares Monkeypox Outbreak A Public Health Emergency

US Declares Monkeypox Outbreak A Public Health Emergency
folder_openUnited States access_time 4 days ago
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By Staff, Agencies

The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency as nationwide cases exceed 6,600.

The declaration was made by Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday.

"We're prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus," Becerra said.

Around a quarter of the thousands-strong cases have been identified in the New York State, which declared a state of emergency last week. California and Illinois followed suit with emergency declarations Monday.

Experts have warned swift action was needed if the outbreak was to be contained in its early stages.

Observers, meanwhile, believe that the real number of the cases could be much higher than the official figures.

Global outbreak of the disease began in May. The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency no earlier than last month. At least 26,200 cases have been confirmed worldwide this year.

The disease has mild symptoms including fever, aches and pus-filled skin lesions, the WHO says. According to the organization, people tend to recover from it within two to four weeks. It spreads through close physical contact and is rarely fatal.

There have been no reported deaths in the United States. Some cases, though, have required hospitalization due to extreme levels of pain.

US President Joe Biden has faced intense pressure from public health experts and activists to move more aggressively to combat monkeypox, The New York Times reported.

Lawrence O. Gostin, a health law expert at Georgetown University, called Thursday’s declaration “a pivotal turning point in the monkeypox response, after a lackluster start.”

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