This 1997 image provided by the CDC during an investigation into an outbreak of monkeypox, which took place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), formerly Zaire, and depicts the dorsal surfaces of the hands of a monkeypox case patient, who was displaying the appearance of the characteristic rash during its recuperative stage. (CDC via AP)

UPDATED 12:00 PM PT – Thursday, July 7, 2022

New York health officials said the state is now the epicenter of the Monkeypox outbreak in the US. CDC data showed that New York has more than 120 cases of the viral disease, which is more than any other state.

The state’s health department announced Thursday, it’s opening more vaccine clinics in an effort to get ahead of the outbreak. The disease is spread through close skin-to-skin contact particularly among men having sex with other men.

New York health officials said their goal is to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible.

“We are doing everything we can to get the vaccine to residents who have the highest likelihood of exposure and where we have seen Monkeypox is present,” said New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that he was still concerned about the spread and scale of the Monkeypox virus in non-endemic countries. According to the WHO chief, more than 7,000 cases have been confirmed in 60 countries so far. Europe is currently the epicenter of the outbreak.

“My teams are following the data closely,” said Tedros. “I plan to reconvene the emergency committee so they are updated on the current epidemiology and evolution of the outbreak and implementation of counter measures.”

The CDC said it is closely tracking Monkeypox cases and has confirmed more than 600 infections throughout the country.

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