Monkeypox is set to be called a public health emergency in the coming days by the United States, it is reported.
It comes as the World Health Organization has said that there have been more than 18,000 cases of monkeypox reported globally from 78 countries, and with the majority in Europe.
The WHO declared the outbreak a global health emergency last Saturday.
Scientists advising the WHO on monkeypox say the window is closing to stop its spread, with cases currently doubling every two weeks, raising concerns that it will take several months for the outbreak to peak.
And the Department of Health and Human Services in the US is expected to also declare an emergency that would allow it to then receive more money and personnel to tackle the outbreak.
A decision could come by the end of the week, reported Politico, citing two insiders with knowledge of the situation.
“I do think it deserves to be one,” reportedly said Tom Inglesby, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
“We’re having a lot of challenges around the country with their rate of rise in terms of new cases. It isn’t an emergency posing a … high threat to the general population. But it’s still moving … and has the potential to spread to additional vulnerable communities.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did say on Wednesday it plans to make the rapidly spreading monkeypox disease a nationally notifiable condition.
The designation, which is set to take effect on August 1 updates criteria for reporting of data on cases by states to the agency and would allow the agency to monitor and respond to monkeypox even after the current outbreak recedes, the CDC said.
Over 3,500 monkeypox cases were reported in the United States as of Tuesday, according to the CDC.
States will be required to report confirmed or probable monkeypox cases within 24 hours. The CDC asked for data to be shared even before the investigation of a case was completed.
State health departments are currently not required to provide the federal government with standardized data on monkeypox.
The disease, which causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, was declared a global health emergency by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in an unprecedented move after a majority of members of an expert committee voted against it.
WHO Europe has forecast just over 27,000 monkeypox cases in 88 countries by August 2.