New York has declared a public health emergency due to a monkeypox outbreak. Mayor Eric Adams and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan made the announcement Saturday.
The two officials said in a joint statement that “New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure.”
“Over the past few weeks, we have moved as quickly as possible to expand outreach and access to vaccines and treatment to keep people safe,” the officials said. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as soon as they become available. This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment.”
On Friday, New York state Governor Kathy Hochul issued an executive order declaring a state disaster emergency because of the monkeypox outbreak. In her executive order, Hochul said that “More than one in four monkeypox cases in this country are in New York State.” Her declaration also expanded the number of health care individuals who can administer the monkeypox vaccines.
The World Health Organization has declared the global monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.
WHO chief Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said recently that while 98% of global monkeypox cases “are among men who have sex with men, anyone exposed can get monkeypox, which is why WHO recommends that countries take action to reduce the risk of transmission to other vulnerable groups, including children, pregnant women and those who are immunosuppressed.”
Tedros said, “In addition to transmission through sexual contact, monkeypox can be spread in households through close contact between people, such as hugging and kissing, and on contaminated towels or bedding.”