The Biden administration plans to declare monkeypox a public health emergency as more than 6,600 cases have emerged nationwide, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.
The news was first reported by the Washington Post. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is expected to discuss the plan in a briefing at 2:15 p.m. Thursday afternoon
That Explanation could improve access to emergency funds, allow the Biden administration to gather more data on cases and immunizations, speed up vaccine distribution, and make it easier for doctors to prescribe treatments.
A quarter of the US cases involve the state of New York, which declared a state of emergency last week. California and Illinois followed Monday with emergency declarations.
The World Health Organization last month declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern, a designation reserved for the most serious global outbreaks of the disease. It has previously been used in Covid-19, Zika, H1N1 flu, polio and Ebola. At least 26,200 cases have been confirmed worldwide this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Monkeypox is spread predominantly through male-to-male sexual contact, which has not been the case in previous outbreaks of the virus. All but 1% of monkeypox cases in the United States have been in people who were classified as male at birth, the Department of Health said last week.
the WHO advised recently Men having sex with men to reduce their number of sexual partners and reconsider sex with new partners as the outbreak continues.
The average US monkeypox patient is about 35 years old, but people of all ages can become infected. The CDC has recorded five cases in children: two in California, two in Indiana, and one nonresident infant who tested positive in Washington, DC
California and Indiana health officials declined to provide more details about their pediatric cases, but Jennifer Rice Epstein, public affairs commissioner at the Long Beach Department of Health, said the patient in her city was uncovered through a close contact.
According to HHS, whites accounted for 37% of monkeypox cases in the US over the past week, followed by Hispanic or Latino (31%), black (27%), and Asian (4%).
Most US cases have reported a rash
The most common symptoms of monkeypox include a rash – which has been reported in 99% of cases in the US to date – malaise, fever and swollen lymph nodes. Some patients have also reported chills, headaches and muscle aches.
Some people with monkeypox only develop one or two lesions in their rash, while others can develop several thousand. according to WHO.
A Study published last month in the New England Journal of Medicine, which examined cases of monkeypox in 16 countries from April to June, found that almost 65% of people had fewer than 10 lesions. The lesions were most commonly found on the anus or genitals, followed by the trunk, arms, or legs. A smaller number of people saw lesions on the face, palms or soles of the feet.
Symptoms usually appeared within a week of exposure, according to the study. About 13% of the people studied were hospitalized, mainly for pain management.
Monkeypox lesions typically develop from red areas into small bumps on the skin that can turn into painful blisters that fill with whitish fluid. A Recent study of monkeypox cases in London found that in some people the red rashes did not develop into pus-filled blisters.
Historically, most monkeypox patients developed flu-like symptoms before lesions appeared, but this was the case for only 61% of patients in the London study. About 39% developed lesions first.
“Stay ahead of the virus and end this outbreak”
Public health officials are relying on a combination of testing, targeted vaccinations and treatments to manage the outbreak.
As of July 28, the US had distributed 338,000 doses of the Jynneos vaccine, a two-shot regimen that can prevent monkeypox if given before or within four days of exposure. If given within 14 days of exposure, it can relieve symptoms. Another 786,000 cans were made available to the states on July 29.
The U.S. has ordered an additional 5.5 million doses, which are expected to be available by May 2023, HHS said.
US testing capacity has also been increased, from 6,000 weekly tests in May to 60,000 to 80,000 now.
In addition, nearly 10,000 people in the US have received TPOXX, an antiviral drug approved for use against smallpox but which can also be used to treat monkeypox. The Strategic National Stockpile contains 1.7 million of the treatments, HHS said. But the use of the drug is limited to for now people with serious illness or a high risk of becoming seriously ill. Doctors also have to fill out extensive paperwork to prescribe it for monkeypox.
Expanded access to TPOXX was one of the many reasons sexual health providers urged HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra to declare a statewide public health emergency.
“Failing to make further changes to make TPOXX available to all who need it is ruthless,” David Harvey, executive director of the National Coalition of STD Directors, said during a Tuesday news briefing.
HHS officials are still hoping to prevent monkeypox from becoming endemic in the US
“Our goal is pretty simple: get ahead of the virus and end this outbreak,” Becerra said last week.
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/us-officials-plan-declare-monkeypox-public-health-emergency-rcna40504 US officials plan to declare monkeypox a public health emergency