U.S. declares monkeypox public health emergency


US health officials declared monkeypox a public health emergency, a step aimed at raising access to treatments,  services and funds to fight the virus, and are eyeing ways of extending available doses as demand for vaccines outstrips supply.

“We’re prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus,” Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said Thursday in a press conference. “We urge every American to take monkeypox seriously and to take responsibility to help us tackle this virus.”

Monkeypox has spread to more than 26,000 people globally in just a few months, leading the World Health Organization to declare the outbreak a public health emergency on July 23. The US leads the world in known cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with more than 6,600.  The virus spreads primarily through close contact with lesions and so far, 99% of US cases have been in men who have sex with men.