New York State Declares Monkeypox Imminent Threat; San Francisco declares state of emergency over virus

Public health agencies in New York State and San Francisco have released statements from monkeypox thursday in an attempt to cope with the continued spread of the virus.

Monkeypox has been declared an imminent threat to public health in New York as infections continue to rise, said state health commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett.

“This statement means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional state reimbursement, after other federal and state funding sources are maximized, to protect all New -Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities,” Bassett said in a statement announcing the move.

And San Francisco declared a state of emergency, noting that 261 people had confirmed or probable monkeypox infections Wednesday.

Dr Susan Philip, the city’s health officer, said the ordinance would allow flexibility as experts anticipate wider community spread. San Francisco received 8,200 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, intended to prevent monkeypox and smallpox infections.

“San Francisco has shown during COVID that early action is essential to protect public health,” Mayor London Breed said in a statement announcing the statement.

“We know this virus affects everyone equally – but we also know that members of our LGBTQ community are at higher risk right now. Many people in our LGBTQ community are scared and frustrated. This local emergency will allow us to continue to support our most vulnerable, while better preparing for what is to come.

New York City Health Department employees help people register for monkeypox vaccinations on Tuesday.Marie Altaffer/AP

Anyone who has been in close contact with a monkeypox patient can become infected, but since the outbreak began, cases have largely been concentrated among men who have sex with men.

The World Health Organization designated the disease a public health emergency of international concern during the weekend.

Monkeypox is a specific poxvirus that was discovered in laboratory monkeys in 1958. The first human case of monkeypox was diagnosed in 1970.

The current outbreak has shown symptoms of rashes and lesions all over the body, including the face, palms and soles, and genital or anal areas.

Cases typically last two to four weeks, and people may also develop flu-like symptoms.

The disease spreads through close physical contact, so public health officials advise against skin-to-skin contact with anyone showing symptoms.

Cases of monkeypox have been reported this year in 71 countries where the disease has never been reported, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. The United States has had 4,906 cases this year, according to CDC data as of Thursday.

Thousands of cases have also been reported in the UK, Spain and Germany.

Jynneos is approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a two-dose vaccine taken four weeks apart. The vaccine can prevent monkeypox if given within four days of exposure or at least relieve symptoms if given within 14 days.

San Francisco said it would prioritize vaccines for men and trans people who have sex with men. New York acquired 60,000 doses, although eligibility and distribution are decided locally.

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