On Tuesday, California declared a state of emergency to address the outbreak of monkeypox, while US President Joe Biden appointed a presidential adviser on coordination to address the disease.
California became the third state to raise its health response to the rapidly spreading disease, within four days, according to the New York Times.
The announcement followed similar measures taken by New York on Friday and Illinois on Monday.
President Biden has appointed Robert Fenton, the national coordinator for the response to monkeypox, in an effort to improve the federal government’s response to the outbreak, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The White House said Fenton, a regional director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and a former acting president of the agency, will serve as the monkeypox coordinator.
Demeter Daskalakis, who is currently director of the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention, will serve as his deputy.
The White House said officials will guide the Biden administration’s strategy on monkeypox and help increase the availability of tests, vaccines and treatments.
Coordinators will respond “with the speed warranted by this outbreak” and will enable the United States to “further accelerate and strengthen its response to monkeypox,” said Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical advisor and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“California is working urgently across all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing and contact tracing and community partnerships strengthened during the pandemic to ensure that the people most at risk are our focus on vaccines, treatment and awareness,” California Governor Gavin Newsom said in a statement. .
“We will continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction, and stand with the LGBT community fighting stigma,” he added.
The moves, which help simplify and coordinate the response to monkeypox between different levels of government, come amid a rise in infections as well as growing complaints about the public health response.
Monkeypox is a virus similar to smallpox, but with less severe symptoms.
It was discovered in 1958, but in recent weeks it has spread to dozens of countries and infected tens of thousands of people, mostly men who have sex with men.
On July 23, the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency.
People who get sick usually have fever, headache, back and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, and fatigue.
A few days after having a fever, most people also develop a rash that begins with flat red marks that become raised and filled with pus.
On average, symptoms appear within six to 13 days of exposure, but can take up to three weeks.
The monkeypox virus can spread from person to person through close physical contact with the infected blisters, by touching objects — such as clothing or bedding — that touched the rash previously, or by respiratory droplets from coughing or sneezing.
Monkeypox can also be transmitted from mother to fetus through the placenta or through close contact during and after childbirth.
Sometimes the Genius vaccine, which protects against smallpox and monkeypox, can help reduce symptoms, even if taken after exposure, according to the New York Times.
The Genius vaccine, commonly used to prevent monkeypox infection, consists of two doses given four weeks apart. It was mostly introduced to health care workers and people who had confirmed or suspected exposure to monkeypox.
Nearly 6,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported nationwide since May, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with nearly half reported in California, Illinois and New York.
No deaths have yet been reported in the United States, and monkeypox is rarely fatal, but the rash caused by the virus has led to severe pain in some patients.
Health officials say the virus is spread primarily through prolonged physical contact, but it can also be transmitted through shared linens and clothing.
So far, men who have sex with men have made up about 99 percent of confirmed cases.
Public health officials stress that the virus can spread to anyone who has long-term contact with someone who has the rash.
The number of cases in the United States is among the highest in the world, and health officials say that number is almost certainly an “underestimate”.
Federal health officials say they have not yet declared a national health emergency in part because monkeypox is a known disease for which tests, vaccines and treatments are available.
The California emergency declaration will allow emergency medical services workers to administer the federally approved monkeypox vaccines.
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