With cases on the rise, the Biden administration has declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency.
The move, intended to speed up vaccine distribution and expand testing across the country, was announced by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on Thursday.
“This public health emergency will allow us to explore additional strategies to get vaccines and treatments more quickly out to impacted communities,” White House National Monkeypox Response Coordinator Robert Fenton said. “And it will allow us to get more data from jurisdictions so we can effectively track and attack this outbreak.”
Since the first U.S. monkeypox case was discovered in May, more than 6,600 cases have been detected with six of those being identified in Mississippi.
Dr. Dan Edney, Mississippi’s new state health officer, spoke some about monkeypox during his inaugural press briefing, mostly focusing on the transmission of the virus.
“You’re not going to get monkeypox at Walmart,” he said. “You could get COVID at Walmart, but you’re not going to get monkeypox.”
The transmission of monkeypox typically occurs with close skin-to-skin contact with an infected person; by touching clothing or linens, bedding, or towels of an infected person; or by inhaling respiratory droplets during prolonged close contact with an infected person.
If you believe you’ve been exposed to the virus, you are encouraged to contact your local provider. The Mississippi State Department of Health will then work with the provider to collect a sample and provide vaccination, if necessary.