California and Illinois declare states of emergency over monkeypox outbreak

While the World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the Biden administration has not issued a nationwide public health emergency declaration.

California is the third and largest state to issue a statewide statement regarding the disease. New York was the first to do so.

The move from California enables emergency medical services personnel across the state to administer FDA-approved monkeypox vaccines, expanding the pool of people capable of inoculating residents against the virus even as the shortage of vaccines persists.

“Expanding the pool of eligible vaccinators will significantly contribute to current efforts and support planned additional vaccination efforts upon receipt of additional doses from the federal government,” the proclamation reads.

“California is working urgently at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and strengthened community partnerships during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our priority for vaccines, treatment and awareness,” Gov,” Gavin Newsom said in a press release.

Illinois’ statement will also make more resources available to fight the virus, Gov. JB Pritzker said. The Chicago and State Departments of Public Health announced that Illinois first suspected case June 2.
“I am declaring a state of emergency to expand the resources and coordination efforts of state agencies to respond, treat, and prevent the spread of MPV,” Pritzker tweeted. “In Illinois, we will ensure our LGBTQ+ community has the resources it needs to stay safe while ensuring members are not stigmatized when accessing essential health care.”
Monkeypox is a poxvirus, related to smallpox, that typically causes sores resembling pimples or blisters, as well as flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills and respiratory symptoms, according to the CDC.
The virus can spread to anyone through close contact, often skin to skin contact, According to the CDC. It is also possible for people to contract monkeypox from infected animals.
Dr. Sanjay Gupta: As monkeypox cases increase, why are we waiting for the cavalry to save us?

California has received more than 61,000 doses of the vaccine to date and has distributed more than 25,000, according to the governor’s press release. Los Angeles County received its own vaccine allocation, and state officials said California would make additional allocations in the coming weeks.

Last week, San Francisco became the first major US city to declare a local health emergency on monkeypox.

“We will continue to work with the federal government to get more vaccines, raise awareness about harm reduction, and support the LGBTQ community in the fight against stigma,” the California governor said.

California used the testing, contact tracing and vaccine infrastructure built for the Covid-19 pandemic to respond to outbreaks of monkeypox, Newsom’s office said.

The CDC has made the prescription antiviral drug tecovirimat available to monkeypox patients at risk of severe disease, but access is limited in California. Now, the treatment can be administered at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state, officials said.

California has also expanded its monkeypox testing capacity and can process more than 1,000 tests per week, according to Newsom.

The state’s first case of monkeypox was reported May 21 and involved a person who had traveled overseas. Now there are probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in 27 different local health jurisdictions, including one case involving a toddler.

In mid-July, the California Department of Health requested an additional 600,000 to 800,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine to help expand eligibility for confirmed and probable exposures, as well as high-risk individuals. .

The health department “hopes that the federal government will provide additional vaccine to meet state demand,” it said in a news release Friday.

People line up to receive the monkeypox vaccine at a vaccination site at the Balboa Sports Center in the Encino neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, July 27, 2022.

As of last week, the US Department of Health and Human Services delivered more than 336,000 doses of Jynneos – an FDA-approved vaccine created for smallpox and monkeypox – from the National Strategic Stockpile.

Health authorities across the country have focused on education efforts to inform Americans about the spread of monkeypox.

Monkeypox, according to the CDC, can be spread via “respiratory secretions” and by touching objects contaminated with monkeypox lesions or fluids. Many cases in the latest outbreak appear to be linked to sexual contact, but monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease.

Many of the cases in this outbreak involved men who have sex with men, including gay and bisexual men, and public health officials are focusing prevention efforts on this group. The virus is not unique to this community, but the nature of its spread through close contact has resulted in a disproportionate impact.

“Our team is also committed to reducing stigma within the LGBTQ community, which has been singled out and treated unfairly because of this outbreak. No individual or community is to blame for the spread of a virus. Monkeypox can affect anyone because it is spread through skin-to-skin contact, as well as sharing items like clothing, bedding and towels,” said California Public Health Officer Dr. Tomás Aragón, in a press release on Friday.

Following California’s declaration of emergency, Equality California, a leading LGBT rights nonprofit, applauded the governor’s decision, noting in a statement that the virus “continues to disproportionately affect gay, bisexual, and queer men here in California and across the country.”

Earlier Monday, State Senator Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, and members of the LGBTQ caucus called on Newsom to issue $38.5 million in emergency budget appropriations to support the local monkeypox response.

CNN’s Andi Babineau and Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.

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