State Health Commissioner Issues Declaration of an Imminent Threat to Public Health for Monkeypox Virus

New Yorkers Can Learn More About Monkeypox to Protect Themselves and Prevent Spread Here

Read the Commissioner's Declaration Letter Here

ALBANY, N.Y. (July 28, 2022) – As the number of monkeypox cases continues to increase and more local health departments are responding to the outbreak every day, New York State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett today declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health (ITPH) in New York State.

"Based on the ongoing spread of this virus, which has increased rapidly and affected primarily communities that identify as men who have sex with men, and the need for local jurisdictions to administer vaccines, I've declared monkeypox an Imminent Threat to Public Health throughout New York State," State Commissioner of Health Dr. Mary T. Bassett said. "This declaration means that local health departments engaged in response and prevention activities will be able to access additional State reimbursement, after other Federal and State funding sources are maximized, to protect all New Yorkers and ultimately limit the spread of monkeypox in our communities."

As local health departments are actively responding to the outbreak through case investigation, vaccination of exposed contacts and focused on current high-risk populations, and conducting education and outreach to the public, they should continue to work closely with the Department's Office of Public Health Practice to claim reimbursement for these public health activities.

The Commissioner's declaration is pursuant to Public Health Law § 621 and covers monkeypox prevention response and activities undertaken June 1, 2022 through December 31, 2022.

Anyone can get monkeypox, which is primarily spread through close, physical contact between people. The current global outbreak looks to be driven by exposure related to intimate, sexual contact. Certain populations currently are more affected than others, including men who have sex with men. Previous outbreak experience elsewhere suggests that the elderly, those with weakened immune systems, pregnant people and children under 8 years of age may be at heightened risk for severe outcomes.

All New Yorkers can protect themselves and prevent the spread of monkeypox in their communities:

  • Ask sexual partners whether they have a rash or other symptoms consistent with monkeypox.
  • Avoid skin-to-skin contact with someone who has a rash or other monkeypox-related symptoms.
  • Contact a healthcare provider following exposure or symptoms, and check with your local county health department about vaccine eligibility.
  • New Yorkers who receive the JYNNEOS vaccine should receive both doses, given four-weeks apart, and stay vigilant until fully vaccinated, two weeks following the second dose.
  • If you or your healthcare provider suspect you may have monkeypox, isolate at home. If you can, stay in a separate area from other family members and pets.
  • Follow reputable sources of health information, including NYSDOH, CDC, and your local county health department.

Today's announcement builds on the New York State Department of Health's ongoing response efforts on monkeypox, including ongoing efforts to secure more vaccines, expand testing capacity, and distribute the latest information and resources to New Yorkers. Earlier this month, NYSDOH launched a new SMS-text notification effort to deliver the latest monkeypox information directly to New Yorkers. New Yorkers can sign up for text messages—which will include alerts about cases, symptoms, spread, and resources for testing and vaccination—by texting "MONKEYPOX" to 81336 or "MONKEYPOXESP" for texts in Spanish. By providing a zip code, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.

Due to New York State's ongoing coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Monkeypox Response Team, New York State has secured more than 60,000 doses to date, including those for New York City. Governor Hochul recently spoke with Dr. Ashish Jha of the White House to ensure that New York continues to receive its fair share of vaccine supply as soon they are available, especially for those New Yorkers in communities with high transmission rates.

NYSDOH's dedicated website, which stays updated with the latest information, has free, downloadable materials including a palm card, information card, handout, and posters available in both English and Spanish. NYSDOH has already distributed these resources to LGBTQ+ organizations, local county health departments, healthcare providers, and businesses. NYSDOH has also engaged in a paid, digital advertising campaign to get information to communities experiencing higher rates of monkeypox cases.

In addition to public outreach, the New York State Department of Health continues to focus on distributing vaccines to communities. Local county health departments that have received supply are administering the vaccine directly and establishing their own appointment processes. Working in partnership with counties, New Yorkers who sign-up for location-based alerts may receive alerts on vaccine availability, clinic locations, scheduling, and other monkeypox-related updates specific to their area.

Earlier this month, NYSDOH, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), hosted a Monkeypox Town Hall for community leaders led by State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.

New Yorkers can learn more about New York State's first vaccine allocation from the federal government here and the second allocation here.

For more information about monkeypox, including case counts by county, treatment, and care, visit: