On August 4, the Biden administration declared monkeypox a public health emergency. The announcement comes after the World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern in July. This means that monkeypox poses a global public health risk through international spread, which requires a coordinated international response.
In the U.S., a growing number of cities and even several states — California, Illinois and New York — have declared monkeypox a public health emergency ahead of the Biden administration’s announcement.
One public health statement Allows the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to take certain actions in response to threats to public health from a disease or crisis. Public health emergencies are not just declared in the context of outbreaks of infectious diseases such as Covid-19 and monkeypox. For example, in October 2017, President Trump declared the “opioid crisis” a “public health emergency.”
Importantly, the public health emergency declaration frees up resources earmarked for actual (or emerging) public health crises. In the case of monkeypox, the federal government can now significantly scale up vaccine production and supply, expand testing capacity, and make testing more accessible. The statement also facilitates coordination among federal, state and local authorities, particularly with regard to access to testing and treatment, and prevention outreach to at-risk community members, aimed at containing the spread of the virus.
Furthermore, the statement allow In addition to supporting the advanced research and development and biomonitoring needed to address the problem at hand, the Secretary of HHS is responsible for investigating and providing support for the cause, treatment, or prevention of a disease or crisis. Finally, it enables CDC to use the Infectious Disease Rapid Response Reserve Fund to prevent, prepare for, or respond to infectious disease emergencies.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 26,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 87 countries. The U.S. has more than 6,500 confirmed cases, accounting for 25% of the world’s confirmed infections.
No deaths from monkeypox have been reported in the United States, but in the latest global outbreak, which began in May, at least six people died outside the United States, and between 3% and 13% of confirmed cases were hospitalized. Most hospitalizations are for pain. Patients often feel debilitated by the rash caused by the virus. Skin damage can occur anywhere on the body. common system features Symptoms preceding the rash included fever (62%), lethargy (41%), myalgia (31%), headache (27%) and swollen lymph nodes (56%).
In addition to pain management, reasons for hospitalization included pharyngitis restricting oral intake, encephalitis, ocular lesions, acute kidney injury, and myocarditis.
Men who have sex with men are currently at the highest risk, but anyone can get monkeypox. And, in fact, an increasing number of women and children are testing positive for the virus.
What you know for sure is monkeypox spread Through direct contact with bodily fluids or ulcers on a monkeypox patient, or with materials that have been in contact with bodily fluids or ulcers, such as clothing and bed sheets. It can also be spread through respiratory droplets when people are in close, face-to-face contact.
The US has increased testing capacity to 80,000 per week. However, in terms of test supply, the current testing demand exceeds the current capacity of the United States.
In 2019, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a vaccine called Jynneos for adults 18 and older who are at high risk of exposure to monkeypox or smallpox. Jynneos, the only FDA-approved monkeypox vaccine in the United States, is given in two doses 28 days apart. On July 15, 2022, the HHS Strategic Preparedness and Response Administration announced that an additional 2.5 million doses of Jynneos have been ordered to enhance monkeypox preparedness, which will increase the federally available supply to more than 6.9 million doses by mid-year 2023.
To date, HHS has developed 786,000 doses of Jynneos available for state and local authorities. But lawmakers and the local community criticized the speed of the response. Due to supply shortages, the FDA is now considering splitting the Jynneos dose into five doses.
CDC Director Dr. Walensky acknowledged that, Vaccines are in short supply. Manufacturer Bavarian Nordic has another 11.1 million doses in stock in Denmark. However, those doses would need to be “filled and done” before they could be administered, which would require additional funding from Congress.
The US also has more than 100 million doses of an older-generation smallpox vaccine called ACAM2000, which may be effective against monkeypox. However, ACAM2000 can have serious side effects and is not recommended for people with compromised immune systems, such as HIV patients, pregnant women, and people with autoimmune diseases.
For other treatments, the United States has 1.7 million courses of the antiviral treatment tecovirimat in its strategic national stockpile. Some doctors are using tecovirimat to treat monkeypox patients. However, this drug is only approved by the FDA to treat smallpox.
It is hoped that the declaration of a public health emergency will soon increase monkeypox testing and treatment, while also providing public health information on preventing the spread of the disease, especially in vulnerable communities.