MONDAY, Dec. 5, 2022 (HealthDay News) -- Mpox cases are down significantly in the United States, prompting the federal government to plan not to renew an emergency designation for the virus when it expires late next month.
"Given the low number of cases today, HHS does not expect that it needs to renew the emergency declaration when it ends on January 31, 2023," Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra said in an agency news release. "But we won't take our foot off the gas -- we will continue to monitor the case trends closely and encourage all at-risk individuals to get a free vaccine."
More than 29,000 Americans contracted the virus and 17 died during an outbreak that started earlier this year, the Associated Press reported.
The government first declared a public health emergency in August, assigning two top officials to manage the virus outbreak, which was primarily occurring in men who have sex with infected men. Those officials are Robert Fenton, who also led the Federal Emergency Management Agency COVID-19 vaccination effort, and Demetre Daskalakis, M.D., from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
After delays in testing and vaccine rollout, the two-dose Jynneos vaccine became more available across the country and cases dropped.
Mpox was previously called monkeypox but was renamed in November by the World Health Organization amid concerns that the name might be discriminatory and racist, the AP reported.