US declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency
'We urge every American to take monkeypox seriously'
The United States declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday.
The move will see additional funding, research and personnel allocated by the government to fight the disease.
"We're prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus," Becerra was quoted as saying in a call, according to AFP.
Earlier on Tuesday, US President Joe Biden appointed two top federal officials to coordinate his government's response to the outbreak, which was already declared an emergency in the states of California, Illinois and New York, Reuters reported.
According to the statistics released on Wednesday, the US surpassed 6,600 cases of monkeypox, with the majority of patients being men who had sex with men.
Last month the World Health Organization (WHO) also declared monkeypox "a public health emergency of international concern," which is the highest level of alert. The WHO urged the governments to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
Even though the disease that has been known since the 1950s has mostly mild symptoms, Spain and Brazil reported the first fatalities in late July. The virus, which is endemic in several African countries, has now spread to over 80 countries with the total number of confirmed cases worldwide exceeding 25,000.
Last week, Israel received its first shipment of monkeypox vaccines. It contained 5,600 doses of Jynneos vaccines produced by the Bavarian Nordic company.