US Officials to Declare Monkeypox a Public Health Emergency

Monkeypox cases have topped 6,600 nationwide, but officials still hope they can control the outbreak with more vaccines and testing

NBC 5 News

The Biden administration plans to declare monkeypox a public health emergency as cases top 6,600 nationwide, two sources familiar with the matter told NBC News.

The news was first reported by Politico. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra is expected to discuss the plan Thursday afternoon in a briefing at 2:15 p.m.

The declaration could facilitate access to emergency funds, allow the Biden administration to collect more data about cases and vaccinations, accelerate vaccine distribution and make it easier for doctors to prescribe treatment.

A quarter of U.S. cases are in New York state, which declared a state of emergency last week. California and Illinois followed suit with emergency declarations Monday.

Monkeypox is rarely fatal, and there have been no deaths in the U.S. during the current outbreak.

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern last month, a designation reserved for the most serious global disease outbreaks. It has previously been used for 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.

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Monkeypox is a rare virus first discovered in 1958.

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