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Workers stand outside D.C.’s first monkeypox vaccination clinic. Health, administering the first doses of the Jynneos vaccine distributed in the US capital, in Washington, US, June 28, 2022. REUTERS/Gavino Garay/File Photo

Aug 4 (Reuters) – The United States has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency, a move that could increase the health agency’s access to funds and allow government new ways to increase the production and use of existing vaccines. Read more

The move follows the declaration by the World Health Organization in July. A Reuters count of more than 25,800 cases globally and three countries outside Africa have reported deaths. Read more


First identified in monkeys, the virus is transmitted mainly through close contact with an infected person. It typically causes mild symptoms including fever, rash, swollen lymph nodes and pus-filled skin lesions. Severe cases can occur although people tend to recover within two to four weeks, according to the WHO.

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Anyone can spread the virus, but the current outbreak outside Africa is concentrated almost exclusively among men who have sex with men. To see also : How Does Amazon’s Acquisition Complement One’s Health?.

Monkey pox is spread primarily through intimate skin-to-skin contact, usually with someone who has an active rash, as well as through contact with contaminated clothing or bedding. It is not as easily transmitted as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that triggered the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The United States hopes that the declaration of a public health emergency will help it contain the disease before it becomes endemic. Read also : Health financing and public financial management in a decentralized setting. This status frees up funding and gives health agencies regulatory flexibility that can help increase access to vaccines and treatments.

Health officials from several countries have urged the WHO to label monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern due to the rapid escalation of cases and concerns that it could become endemic in more countries .

The emergency declaration aims to spur global action and collaboration on everything from testing to the production and distribution of vaccines and treatments.

The fatality rate in previous outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa of the currently spreading strain was about 1%, but so far this outbreak appears to be less lethal in countries not endemic, many of which have a stronger health care infrastructure. Until this year, the viral disease has rarely spread outside of Africa where it is endemic.

Scientists are trying to determine what caused the initial cases and whether the virus has changed. An increase in global travel as well as climate change have generally accelerated the emergence and spread of viruses, experts say.

Infectious disease experts say years of financial neglect have left sexual health clinics on the front lines of the current monkeypox response unprepared to contain further spread. Read more

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Health officials say people should avoid close personal contact with someone who has an illness that presents with a distinctive rash or who is otherwise unwell. On the same subject : Nigerian football joins the video game big league as local stars get avatars. People who suspect they have monkeypox should isolate and seek medical treatment.

Health officials are also offering monkeypox vaccines to high-risk individuals and those who have recently been in close contact with an infected person.

The Danish company Bavarian Nordic (BAVA.CO) has a vaccine that goes by the brand name Jynneos, Imvamune or Imvanex – depending on the geography. It has US and European approval for the prevention of both smallpox and the closely related monkeypox.

An older vaccine, currently made by Emergent Biosolutions, is called ACAM2000, but its uptake has been limited due to a severe side effect warning.

Bavarian Nordic says it can produce 30 million doses of its vaccines – including the one for monkeypox – each year, and has tapped a US-based contract manufacturer to increase monkey vaccine capacity. Read more

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Symptoms of monkeypox often resolve on their own within weeks. Patients may receive extra fluids and additional treatment for secondary bacterial infections.

An antiviral agent called tecovirimat – branded as TPOXX and made by SIGA Technologies ( SIGA.O ) – has US and EU approval for smallpox, while its European approval also includes monkeypox and cow pox.

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Reporting by Natalie Grover in London, Michael Erman in New Jersey and Caroline Humer in New York; Editing by Michele Gershberg, William Maclean

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Fiduciary Principles.

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