Wed | Aug 17, 2022

US to declare health emergency over monkeypox outbreak

Published:Thursday | August 4, 2022 | 1:06 PM
Daniel Rofin, 41, receives a vaccine against monkeypox from a health professional at a medical centre in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, July 26, 2022. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States will declare a public health emergency to bolster the federal response to the outbreak of monkeypox that already has infected more than 6,600 Americans, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The announcement will free up federal funding and resources to fight the virus, which may cause fever, body aches, chills, fatigue and pimple-like bumps on many parts of the body.

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity ahead of the announcement.

The declaration comes as the Biden administration has faced criticism over the pace of vaccine availability for monkeypox.

Clinics in major cities like New York and San Francisco say they haven't received enough of the two-shot vaccine to meet demand and some have had to stop offering the second dose of the vaccine to ensure the supply of first doses.

The White House said it has made more than 1.1 million doses of vaccine available and has helped to boost domestic diagnostic capacity to 80,000 tests per week.

The monkeypox virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, including hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing.

People getting sick so far have been primarily men who have sex with men.

But health officials emphasise that the virus can infect anyone.

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