New York City, Illinois declare state of emergency over monkeypox

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared a state of emergency on Saturday

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New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Monday declared a state of emergency over the monkeypox outbreak that has now infected more than 1,200 people in the city, representing a quarter of all cases nationwide. 

Adams said his order will bolster the city’s efforts "to educate, vaccinate, test, and treat as many New Yorkers as possible and ensure a whole-of-government response to this outbreak." 

Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New York City, Jan. 24, 2022.

Mayor Eric Adams speaks during a news conference at City Hall in New York City, Jan. 24, 2022. (Reuters/Brendan McDermid)

Adams' state of emergency will allow him to suspend local laws and implement new health rules. 

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul has already declared a state disaster emergency over monkeypox, and the state health department has called monkeypox an "imminent threat to public health." 

NEW YORK, SAN FRANCISCO: MONKEYPOX THREAT TO PUBLIC HEALTH

New York City Health Commissioner Ashwin Vasan said as many as 150,000 city residents could be at risk of infection. 

Later Monday, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a public health emergency declaration in response to the monkeypox virus. 

"We have seen this virus disproportionately impact the LGBTQ+ community in its initial spread," Pritzker said in a statement. "In Illinois, we will ensure our LGBTQ+ community has the resources they need to stay safe while ensuring members are not stigmatized as they access critical health care." 

The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a global health emergency on July 23 and San Francisco's mayor on Thursday announced a state of emergency over the growing number of cases.

The once-rare disease has been established in parts of central and western Africa for decades but was not known to spark large outbreaks beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until May, when authorities detected dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Tubes labeled "Monkeypox Virus," with positive and negative results pictured, in this illustration taken May 23, 2022.

Tubes labeled "Monkeypox Virus," with positive and negative results pictured, in this illustration taken May 23, 2022. (Reuters/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

To date, there have been more than 22,000 monkeypox cases reported in nearly 80 countries since May, with about 75 suspected deaths in Africa, mostly in Nigeria and Congo. On Friday, Brazil and Spain reported deaths linked to monkeypox, the first reported outside Africa. Spain reported a second monkeypox death Saturday.

The virus spreads through prolonged and close skin-to-skin contact as well as sharing bedding, towels and clothing. In Europe and North America, it has spread primarily among men who have sex with men, though health officials emphasize that the virus can infect anyone.

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The type of monkeypox virus identified in this outbreak is rarely fatal, and people usually recover within weeks. But the lesions and blisters caused by the virus are painful.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.