“The global outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebteyesus.
Powerful words from the head of the World Health Organization amid rising monkeypox cases, the emergency declaration is the first time the head of the UN health agency has taken such a step.
A month ago, there were more than 3,000 cases in 74 countries. Since then, the disease has spread and there are now over 16,000 cases in 75 countries and five deaths in Africa.
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“It’s moving fast, just like COVID, we have to respond quickly, especially when we have a solution,” said San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
Breed addressed the increase in monkeypox, as currently 197 cases have been identified in San Francisco, but that number is expected to increase. She hopes the statement will speed up the delivery of more vaccines.
“We’ve had about 10,000 vaccines, we need 70,000. We’ve submitted a request for about 35,000 to start,” Breed said.
The San Francisco Department of Public Health told ABC7 News in a statement, “The World Health Organization’s recognition that monkeypox is a global emergency only reinforces that the way to deal with to this health emergency is to provide the necessary resources to local governments, especially cities like San Francisco that are experiencing an increase in cases.”
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Governor Gavin Newsom’s office tweeted a video on Saturday saying California had received more vaccines from the federal government and was distributing them to the most affected communities.
Monkeypox vaccination clinics have recently seen long lines in San Francisco where some people have been turned away. This has put the city’s LGBTQ community on alert, with health officials saying monkeypox primarily affects gay and bisexual men.
“At the moment this is an epidemic that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, particularly those who have multiple partners, which means that this is an epidemic that can be stopped with the right groups,” Ghebreyesus said.
But experts say anyone can be infected. Officials say Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco will reopen its monkeypox vaccination clinic on Monday, July 25 at 8 a.m., while supplies last.
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