California has become the second U.S. state to declare a state of emergency as officials grapple with an outbreak of monkeypox.
“As part of the state’s ongoing response to the monkeypox outbreak, Governor Gavin Newsom today declared a state of emergency to intensify the state’s vaccination efforts,” the governor’s office said Monday.
“California is working urgently at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and community partnerships that we have ramped up during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our vaccines, treatments and The focus of outreach efforts,” the governor said.
He added that California authorities will continue to work with the federal government to obtain more vaccines, raise awareness about risk reduction, and stand with the LGBT+ community in fighting the stigma of zoonotic diseases.
New York state made a similar statement Saturday.
Last week, the Newsom administration said it was too early to declare a public emergency. However, Democratic Senator Scott Weiner from San Francisco urged the governor to declare monkeypox an emergency.
“The monkeypox outbreak is an emergency and we need to control it with every tool we have,” Mr Wiener said.
Although endemic in several parts of West Africa since 1970, there was an outbreak of monkeypox in non-endemic countries in May of this year.
Viral zoonoses are spread through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact, such as hugging, hugging and kissing, and sharing bedding, towels and clothing.
Monkeypox is a rare and relatively mild viral infection. It has an incubation period of 6 to 16 days. Symptoms include high temperature, headache, rash, muscle aches, back pain, swollen glands, tremors and exhaustion, according to the NHS.
The large number of cases seen so far have occurred in gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men. But health officials and experts have warned that the virus can infect anyone and isn’t limited to a specific group of people.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has also warned against stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease.
“Public health officials are clear: Stigma is unacceptable and counterproductive,” said Michelle Gibbons, executive director of the California Association of County Health Administrators. “The truth is that monkeypox is primarily spread through skin-to-skin contact and sharing items such as bedding or towels, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”
WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency on July 23, after more than 18,000 monkeypox cases were reported in some 78 countries, most of them from Europe.