Governor declares monkeypox a state of emergency in New York

The declaration authorises state agencies to assist localities in responding to the outbreak. PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) - Governor Kathy Hochul has declared a state of emergency, as cases of monkeypox continue to increase rapidly in New York.

The outbreak has been concentrated in New York City and reached close to 1,400 cases across the state on Friday (July 29), according to the governor's disaster declaration.

The declaration authorises state agencies to assist localities in responding to the outbreak. The governor said on Twitter that it would allow the state "to respond more swiftly" to the outbreak.

Earlier in the week, officials announced that the state would receive 110,000 additional doses of the monkeypox vaccine from the federal government. Those are part of a batch of 800,000 doses that the federal government plans to distribute.

Around 10 per cent, or 80,000 of those doses, will go to New York City; 30,000 will go to the New York State Health Department.

The doses will be delivered over the next four to six weeks, Ms Hochul said.

More than 1,100 people in New York City had tested positive for the monkeypox virus as of late July - nearly all of them adult men.

In the current epidemic, monkeypox has spread mainly through close physical contact with an infected person.

In New York, the virus has been primarily spreading among men who have sex with men. It causes rashes and pustules to form, and its primary mode of transmission is through direct physical contact with sores.

Adult men who have sex with men and who have had multiple sexual partners in the past 14 days are eligible for a vaccine in New York City. Close contacts of infected people are also eligible.

Within the group of eligible people, the Health Department is especially encouraging people who have partners showing monkeypox symptoms to get vaccinated.

Eligible people who have a condition that weakens the immune system, such as HIV, or who have a history of dermatitis or eczema are also strongly encouraged to get vaccinated.

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