California Governor Gavin Newsom announced a state of emergency over monkeypox on Monday, strengthening immunization efforts to stem the spread of an epidemic that has sickened over 5,800 Americans.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, California, the nation’s most populated state, has recorded 827 monkeypox cases as of Monday, the second-highest state total behind New York’s 1,390 illnesses.

The first incidence of monkeypox in the United States was verified in Massachusetts on May 20, with the first case in California, in a person who had been overseas, confirmed five days later.

Monkeypox, which spreads by intimate personal contact, causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin sores, although it is seldom deadly.

Newsom’s statement comes nine days after the World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global health emergency, the agency’s highest level of warning, over the swiftly spreading viral illness. 

According to a Reuters tally released on Monday, over 70 nations where monkeypox is not previously deemed endemic have recorded outbreaks, with worldwide cases exceeding 22,100. According to a July 22 WHO report, just five monkeypox fatalities had been documented globally, with all of them occurring in Africa.

To increase disease immunization, California’s proclamation allows emergency medical services professionals to administer federally authorized vaccinations, comparable to the legislative power recently granted to pharmacists to provide vaccines.

The governor’s office stated in a statement making the proclamation that the state’s monkeypox response is based on systems built during the COVID-19 epidemic.

California public health officials encouraged the federal government last month to make additional vaccine doses accessible to the state as soon as possible, and 25,000 doses have so far been delivered in the state.

Last Monday, New York Governor Kathy Hochul declared a monkeypox emergency in her state, which accounts for one in every four confirmed cases in the United States to date.

Source: Reuters

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