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The US has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, as cases surpassed 6,600 across the nation.
The declaration on Thursday allows federal agencies to put funds towards developing vaccines and drugs, and hiring workers to manage the outbreak.
‘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,’ said Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra.
The US’s declaration comes more than a week after the World Health Organization (WHO) called the outbreak a global health emergency. WHO defines a public health emergency as ‘an extraordinary event’ posing a ‘public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease’ that could ‘potentially require a coordinated international response’.
A quarter of the monkeypox cases in the US are in New York, which last week declared a state of emergency. On Monday, California and Illinois also declared emergencies.
More than 99% of the cases have been found in men who have sex with men. The average age of patients is 35. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has logged five cases in children – two in California, two in Indiana and an infant in Washington, DC.
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