Monkeypox declared a public health emergency in King County

King County Executive Dow Constantine issued a proclamation on Friday, declaring monkeypox a public health emergency in the county.

The emergency proclamation dedication gives public health officials more flexibility in responding to the monkeypox outbreak.

As of Aug. 19, there were 275 monkeypox cases reported in King County alone. This accounts for nearly 83% of cases reported statewide. 

"We are fortunate to have one of the best public health organizations in the nation right here in King County, and today’s action ensures they will have all the tools needed to take on the challenge of monkeypox," said Constantine. "The health of our community is paramount, and responding quickly and nimbly to monkeypox will help keep more of us safe."

The King County declaration does not, however, have any impact on federal vaccine distribution to the county. 

Constantine's designation follows the WHO, which declared monkeypox a global emergency on Aug. 4. 

Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus. It is typically spread through close physical contact.

The virus often causes a rash, which may look like bumps on your skin, blisters, or ulcers. Some people have a flu-like illness before they develop a rash. Infections with the strain of monkeypox virus identified in the U.S. outbreak are rarely fatal, and most people recover in two to four weeks, according to Public Health – Seattle & King County.

Learn more about monkeypox from the DOH here.