The United States declared a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak on Thursday, a decision that should free up funds, facilitate data collection and deploy more personnel to fight the disease.
“We are ready to step up our response to the virus and we call on all Americans to take monkeypox seriously and do what is necessary to help us fight the virus,” the US Secretary of State said. Health Xavier Becerra.
The declaration, in effect for 90 days and which can be renewed, comes at a time when the number of cases recorded in the United States exceeded 6,600 on Thursday, including around a quarter in New York State alone. Experts fear that the real figure is much higher, however, due to sometimes very discreet symptoms, including simple lesions.
On this point: Monkeypox in three questions
Only 600,000 doses of vaccine
The Federal State provided approximately 600,000 doses of the vaccine, marketed under the name of Jynneos in North America, Imvanex in Europe and initially developed for smallpox. But that number is still a far cry from the roughly 1.6 million people considered to be at high risk in the country.
The Department of Health said last week that 99% of the cases recorded in the United States concern men who have sex with men. This population is the priority target for vaccination.
Read also: More than 300 cases of monkeypox in Switzerland, Dialogai requests authorization “without delay” for vaccination
Unlike previous waves in Africa, this new epidemic of monkeypox is transmitted mainly by sexual intercourse, but the American health authorities (CDC) indicate that other routes are possible, in particular by sharing a bed, clothes and prolonged face-to-face contact.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had triggered its highest level of alert at the end of July in order to strengthen the fight against monkey pox.
On Thursday, the American drug agency, the FDA, for its part said it was studying the possibility of authorizing caregivers to administer five doses of vaccine from a single one by modifying the way in which it is injected.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are a high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and a chickenpox-like rash.
Read also: Monkey pox: the gay community threatened by stigma