New York City declares monkeypox a public health emergency

NEW YORK (AP) – Officials in New York City have declared a public health emergency due to the spread of the virus. monkeypox virus Saturday, calling the city the “epicenter” of the outbreak.

The announcement Saturday by Mayor Eric Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said up to 150,000 city residents could be at risk of infection. The declaration would allow officials to issue emergency orders under the city’s health code and change code provisions to implement measures to help slow the spread.

In the past two days, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency, and the state health department called monkeypox an “immediate public health threat.”

New York had recorded 1,345 cases as of Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California was second, with 799.

“We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as they become available,” Adams and Vasan said in the statement. “This outbreak must be met with urgency, action and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment.”

World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23 and the mayor of San Francisco on Thursday declared a state of emergency on the increasing number of cases.

The once-rare disease has been established in parts of central and western Africa for decades, but was not known to cause major outbreaks across the continent or to spread widely among humans until May, when authorities discovered dozens of outbreaks in Europe, North America and elsewhere. .

To date, there have been more than 22,000 cases of monkeypox reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported monkeypox-related deaths, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second death from monkeypox on Saturday.

The virus is spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, as well as through sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread mostly among men who have sex with men, although health officials point out that the virus can infect anyone.

The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful.

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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