WASHINGTON, D.C. – Reports are coming in that indicate the Biden Administration is expected to declare an official public health emergency regarding the growing spread of monkeypox in the United States, leading to fears that the country may be on the cusp of experiencing yet another bout with a highly infectious disease in the wake of COVID-19.
According to Politico, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra will most likely declare an emergency over monkeypox at a press conference scheduled to take place Thursday, which would enable the agency to request additional funding and staff in order to formulate and conduct a response to the situation.
If Becerra does indeed declare a public health emergency over the monkeypox outbreak, he would be following suit with the World Health Organization (WHO), which officially declared a global health emergency over the disease earlier this week.
Monkeypox symptoms typically appear similar to the flu, including fever, headache, muscle aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. Later symptoms include rashes on the face, hands, feet, eyes, mouth or genitals that eventually can become blisters. According to the University of California San Francisco, Monkeypox can occasionally be deadly, especially in poor places with inadequate health care.
In the U.S., the first monkeypox case in the current outbreak was identified on May 18, 2022; as of July 26, 3,591 cases in 46 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C. have been diagnosed.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued an alert to gay and bisexual men, saying that monkeypox appears to be spreading in the community globally and urging individuals to take precautions and to be on the lookout for symptoms. However, health officials have stresses that anyone can catch the disease, regardless of sexual orientation.