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California governor declares state of emergency over monkeypox outbreak

The announcement comes as more than 5,800 probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox have been reported in the United States, including nearly 800 in California.

While the World Health Organization has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, the Biden administration has yet to issue a national public health emergency.

California is now the third state after New York and Illinois and the largest U.S. state to issue a statewide statement on the disease.

The announcement allows California’s emergency medical services to administer an FDA-approved monkeypox vaccine, expanding the population that can vaccinate residents against the virus, even as vaccine shortages persist.

“Expanding the number of qualified vaccinators will greatly facilitate current efforts and support planned additional vaccination efforts upon receipt of additional doses from the federal government,” the emergency bulletin states.

Newsom said: “California governments at all levels are working urgently to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and enhanced community partnerships during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are the ones we are vaccinated, Treatment and awareness-raising priorities.” in a press release.

Monkeypox, a smallpox-related pox virus, usually causes pimple- or blister-like sores, as well as flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, and respiratory symptoms. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The virus can be spread to anyone through close contact, usually skin contact, according to the CDC. It is also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals.

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

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

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

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

The CDC has given monkeypox patients at risk of serious disease the prescription antiviral drug tecovirimat, but its use has been restricted in California. Now, the treatment is available at more than 30 facilities and providers across the state, officials said.

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

The state’s first monkeypox case was reported on May 21, involving a person who had traveled abroad.

There are now probable or confirmed cases of monkeypox in 27 different local health jurisdictions, including one involving a young child.

In mid-July, the California Department of Health called for an additional 600,000 to 800,000 doses of monkeypox vaccine to help expand the eligibility of identified and potentially exposed groups and those at high risk.

The health department said in a news conference on Friday that it “hopes that the federal government will provide additional vaccines to meet the needs of states.”

People line up to be vaccinated against monkeypox at a vaccination site at the Balboa Sports Center near Encino in Los Angeles, California, on July 27, 2022.

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

Health authorities across the country are focusing on educational efforts to inform Americans about the spread of monkeypox.

According to the CDC, monkeypox is spread through close contact, including “respiratory secretions” and contact with objects contaminated with monkeypox lesions or bodily fluids. Many of the recent outbreaks appear to be related to sexual contact, but monkeypox is not an STD.

Many of the cases in this outbreak have 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 results in a disproportionate impact.

“Our team is also working to reduce stigma within the LGBTQ community, which has been singled out and treated unfairly because of this outbreak. No individual or community is responsible for the spread of the virus. Monkeypox can affect anyone, as it spreads through skin-to-skin contact, as well as sharing items such as clothing, bedding and towels,” Dr. Thomas Aragon, California’s public health officer, said in a statement Friday.

After California declared a state of emergency, leading LGBT rights nonprofit Equality California applauded the governor’s move, noting in a statement that the virus “continues to disproportionately affect gay, bisexual and gay people in California and across the country. Queer Men. »

Earlier Monday, California Sen. Scott Wiener, who represents San Francisco, and members of the LGBTQ caucus called on Newsom to release $38.5 million in emergency budget allocations to support the local response to monkeypox.

CNN’s Cheri Mossburg contributed to this report.

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