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latest news Newsom declares state of emergency due to monkeypox outbreak

Governor Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in California on Monday due to the spread of the monkeypox virus to “boost the state’s vaccination efforts.”

“California is working urgently at all levels of government to slow the spread of monkeypox, leveraging our robust testing, contact tracing and strengthened community partnerships during the pandemic to ensure those most at risk are our priority for vaccines, treatment and awareness,” Newsom said in the statement.

Nearly 800 cases of monkeypox had been confirmed in California, according to the latest data released Thursday by the California Department of Public Health.

The state reported that 98.3% of those cases were confirmed in men, the majority of whom identify as part of the LGBTQ community. The virus is spreading widely among men who have sex with men as well as transgender and non-binary people.

The proclamation makes it easier for the state to coordinate its response to the outbreak and allows emergency medical service workers to administer vaccines.

Newsom’s office said California has distributed more than 25,000 doses of the vaccine out of a total of 61,000 doses received to date. The Jynneos vaccine in particular remains in short supply across the country.

The governor’s office said more than 30 facilities and providers across the state offer treatment for monkeypox, though access to the prescription antiviral drug tecovirimat is also limited.

“We will continue to work with the federal government to get more vaccines, raise awareness about harm reduction, and support the LGBTQ community in the fight against stigma,” Newsom said.

Symptoms of monkeypox are similar to those of smallpox, although they are generally milder. People infected with the virus initially have fever, body aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion. Later, they develop a rash, usually starting on the face, then spreading, turning into pus-filled sores before falling off.

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