American Public Health Association  |  September 15, 2022

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The past few years have demonstrated that infectious diseases remain a challenge for public health.Unfortunately, the United States is still unprepared to respond to public health emergencies. Monkeypox (MPX) is a viral zoonosis (an infection transmitted to humans from animals) with symptoms like those seen in people with smallpox, a phylogenetically related virus. However, it is clinically less severe. In April 2022, MPX was identified in the United Kingdom and has been found throughout Europe and other parts of the world. The current MPX strain behaves differently from those historically found in Central and Western Africa. The first case in the United States was confirmed in May 2022, and diagnoses have grown exponentially since that time. On July 23,2022, after more than 23,000 cases were confirmed globally—including eight deaths—the World Health Organization director general declared the current MPX outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. During the first week of August, the United States declared MPX a public health emergency, and by then, there were more than 26,000 cases worldwide, one in four of which was diagnosed in the United States.

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