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US declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

US declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

Monkeypox Crisis: The US tally topped 6,600 on Wednesday, almost all of the cases among men who have sex with men.

US declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency US declares monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency

The United States has declared monkeypox a public health emergency, the health secretary said on Thursday, a move expected to free up additional funding and tools to fight the disease.

The US tally topped 6,600 on Wednesday, almost all of the cases among men who have sex with men.

"We're prepared to take our response to the next level in addressing this virus, and we urge every American to take monkeypox seriously," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said at a briefing.

The declaration will improve the availability of data on monkeypox infections that is needed for the response, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky said, speaking alongside Bacerra.

The US government has come under pressure for its handling of the outbreak.

The disease began spreading in Europe before moving to the United States, which now has the most cases in the world. Vaccines and treatments have been in short supply and the disease often left for historically underfunded sexual health clinics to manage.