California has become the third US state in four days to declare a state of emergency as monkeypox cases climb to more than 5,800 nationwide.
Governor Gavin Newsom insisted it was too early to make such a move on Friday – but just three days later triggered the response.
Health officials have now reported 825 cases of monkeypox after recording the state’s first case on May 25.
Emergency medical personnel will now administer monkeypox vaccines in a race to stop the spread of the virus, which is passed on through prolonged skin-to-skin contact.
A government-wide response will be set in motion, resulting in more jabs being sought and efforts amplified to educate people on the infection.
The state has received more than 61,000 vaccine doses, while more than 25,000 doses have been distributed.
It comes after the World Health Organisation declared a “global health emergency” in July when monkeypox cases were found in more than 70 countries.
The monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak can lead to painful lesions and blisters – which may prevent swallowing or bowel movements – although it is rarely fatal. Sufferers have spoken out about “going through hell and back”.
People have been warned the infection can be passed on through hugging, cuddling and kissing, as well as through sharing bedding, towels and clothing.
Anyone can catch monkeypox, although men who have sex with men have been mainly affected so far.
The state of emergency in California came after one was announced in Illinois on Monday, New York on Saturday and in San Francisco on Thursday.
“We’ll continue to work with the federal government to secure more vaccines, raise awareness about reducing risk, and stand with the LGBTQ community-fighting stigmatization“, Mr Newsom said in a statement announcing his declaration.
“The fact is that monkeypox is primarily spread by skin-to-skin contact and sharing objects like bedding or towels, without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity.“
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