San Diego declares monkeypox emergency

California’s San Diego County declared a public health emergency over monkeypox on Tuesday, The Hill reported. 

The move came just two days after California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom declared an emergency for the entire state.

The county had already logged 27 cases of the disease as of Friday, with 19 more suspected.

In a statement, public health officer Wilma Wooten said that “due to the limited supply of vaccine, the large population and geographic location of San Diego County, combined with the worldwide spread of monkeypox and confirmed or probable local cases, there is an imminent threat from the introduction of monkeypox in San Diego County community at-large.”

The move needs to be ratified by the county’s Board of Supervisors within seven days. Votes to extend it are required every 30 days.

However, it likely won’t be a difficult decision, considering the resources that it unlocks.

“Declaring a public health emergency will give the county more authority to use state resources to administer vaccines, utilize public health infrastructure to conduct testing and contact tracing and ensure health professionals have the resources they need with respect to the virus,” The Hill noted.

The World Health Organization reported Wednesday that worldwide cases of the virus rose 18.7% last week, with the United States seeing the biggest jump.

There had been 5,175 laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease in the U.S. as of the last week of July, the most in the world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has now logged over 6,000 cases.

All told, 23,351 cases have been logged since the outbreak began.

CDC data show that California has the second-most cases nationwide with 826. New York is first with 1,748.

The CDC notes that the disease “can spread to anyone through close, personal, often skin-to-skin contact, including: Direct contact with monkeypox rash, scabs, or body fluids from a person with monkeypox, touching objects, fabrics (clothing, bedding, or towels), and surfaces that have been used by someone with monkeypox [and] contact with respiratory secretions.”

The vast majority of cases — 98.8% — have been reported among men, with 97.5% percent identifying as “men who have sex with men” and another 1% as bisexual.

The disease, officials have said, is mostly spreading through sexual intercourse. In May, a WHO official said the disease, which is usually confined to a low endemic state in central and west Africa, was likely “amplified” by sex at two large raves in Spain and Belgium.