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The US declares monkeypox a public health emergency

#declares #monkeypox #public #health #emergency

President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a move designed to free up new funds, help with data collection and allow additional personnel to be deployed to fight the disease.

The move came as more than 6,600 cases had emerged across the country, about a quarter of them from New York state, and experts warned swift action would be needed if the outbreak is to be contained in its early stages.

“We stand ready to take our response to the next level in fighting this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and take responsibility to help us fight this virus,” said Xavier Becerra, Minister for Health and Human Services, in an appeal.

Observers believe the actual number of cases could be much higher than official figures suggest, as symptoms of the current global outbreak, which began in May, have included subtle signs such as isolated lesions, alongside the more familiar widespread rashes.

This can lead to cases being missed or misdiagnosed as the presentation resembles common sexually transmitted infections.

The US has so far shipped around 600,000 JYNNEOS vaccines – originally developed against the monkeypox virus, smallpox – but that number is still a far cry from the roughly 1.6 million people thought to be most at risk who are taking the vaccine need most.

Due to supply chain restrictions, the country wasn’t due to receive its next shipment of 150,000 JYNNEOS vaccines – which were developed with US federal funding but are manufactured by a small Danish company called Bavarian Nordic – until September, said Dawn O’Connell, a senior HHS official.

– main driver of sexual activity –

About 99 percent of U.S. cases so far have been in men who have sex with men, HHS said last week, and that’s what population officials are targeting in the national immunization strategy.

Unlike previous outbreaks in Africa, the virus is now predominantly spread through sexual activity – but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say other routes are possible, including sharing bedding, clothing and prolonged personal contact.

Authorities are conducting specific outreach efforts with the MSM community, including advising on new types of symptoms and suggesting reducing the number of sexual partners pending vaccination.

There is a small but increasing number of women and children who are also affected by sexual or domestic contact.

Fortunately, no deaths have been reported in the US and all patients have recovered so far. However, some had to be hospitalized to treat extreme pain.

About 14,000 doses of an antiviral drug known as Tecovirimat, or TPOXX by its trade name, have been supplied to treat the disease – but the drug was developed for smallpox and its effectiveness against monkeypox is not yet fully understood.

The focus on MSM has raised concerns about stigma.

But San Francisco professor Monica Gandhi wrote in Medscape, University of California, San Francisco, that focusing on the hardest-hit population is helpful.

“Just like with HIV and COVID, it’s important to define the most vulnerable populations so we can prioritize targeted messages and resources for those groups,” she said.

– Five vaccines from one dose –

The US statement comes after the World Health Organization last month also classified the outbreak as an emergency – something it reserves for diseases of utmost concern.

Also on Thursday, U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Robert Califf said his agency was considering changing the way the vaccine is injected and adopting an approach that would allow five times as many people vaccinate on the basis of the same supply.

The vaccine is currently given under the skin, but the new technique would involve delivery inside the skin at a shallower angle.

That “basically means sticking the needle in the skin and creating a little pocket there for the vaccine to go into, so that’s really not very unusual,” Califf said.

The US must first declare another type of emergency in order for the new method of vaccine delivery to get the green light, he added. yeah

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