NEW YORK (AP) – Officials in New York City on Saturday declared a public health emergency due to the spread of the monkeypox virus, calling the city the “epicentre” of the outbreak.
An announcement made on Saturday by Mayor Eric Adams and Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said the city’s 150,000 residents could be at risk of infection. The announcement will allow officials to issue emergency orders under the city’s health code and amend code provisions to implement measures to help slow the spread.
Over the past two days, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a state disaster emergency declaration and the state Department of Health called monkeypox an “imminent threat to public health.”
New York had recorded 1,345 cases as of Friday, according to data compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. California was second with 799.
“We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as they become available,” Adams and Wasson said in the statement. “This outbreak must be met with urgency, action and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the gravity of the moment.”
The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23, and the mayor of San Francisco on Thursday declared a state of emergency over the rising number of cases.
The once rare disease has been established in parts of Central and West Africa for decades, but was not known to cause large outbreaks beyond the continent or spread widely among people until May, when Authorities had detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere. ,
So far, more than 22,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths occurring in Africa, most of them in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death on Saturday.
The virus is spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, as well as by sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread mainly to men who have sex with men, although health officials insist that the virus can infect anyone.
The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the sores and blisters caused by the virus are painful.