The Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency on Thursday in response to the growing number of monkeypox cases. The disease disproportionately affects racial and ethnic groups.
As of Friday, there were 7,510 monkeypox cases in the US, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows. Most cases were recorded in New York state (1,862), California (826), and Florida (633).
According to the CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released on Friday, 99% of the US monkeypox cases occurred in men, 94% of whom reported male-to-male sexual or close intimate contact during the three weeks before symptom onset.
Racial and ethnic groups appear to be disproportionately affected by the disease. Among the 88% of cases with available data, 41% were among non-Hispanic White (White) persons, 28% among Hispanic or Latino (Hispanic) persons, and 26% among non-Hispanic Black or African American (Black) persons.
The CDC data shows that fewer people (42%) experienced prodrome as their first symptom, and more people (46%) experienced genital rashes.
Public health emergency
As criticism over the slow response to the outbreak was mounting, the Biden administration declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.
The declaration could provide access to emergency funds, allow health agencies to collect more data about vaccination, testing, and hospitalization, and accelerate administering vaccines to affected communities across the country.
The decision came a few days after California and Illinois declared health emergencies over the monkeypox outbreak.
More vaccines available
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced on Thursday that it had shipped more than 602,000 doses of the JYNNEOS vaccine against monkeypox to states and jurisdictions. The HHS also announced an additional 150,000 doses would arrive in the US next month.
The HHS said authorities are looking for new strategies to help get vaccines to affected communities across the country. One of the considered methods is administering JYNNEOS vaccine shots intradermally. It means the vaccine would be injected into the dermis and/or epidermis of human skin instead of subcutaneous tissue, a deeper layer of the skin. This method would allow splitting a one-dose vial into five doses to vaccine five people.
Children exposed in Illinois
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced on Friday that a daycare worker in Rontoul village in Central Illinois tested positive for monkeypox.
According to the state health director Sameer Vohra, screening of children and other staff was taking place, and no additional cases had been found at that time. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) authorized the use of the monkeypox vaccine for anyone under 18 years with a guardian's approval.