Cases of monkeypox are growing and it's forcing local leaders to really step up their response.
Monday Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency on monkeypox to boost vaccine efforts and get the urgent message across about staying safe.
"If it hasn’t already it should definitely sound an alarm," said Clinical Nurse Specialist Alice Benjamin.
California is behind New York in the number of confirmed cases of monkeypox and now both states are under a state of emergency.
"California and New York were hit the hardest and we are the first two states to sound the alarm on an emergency declaration, Benjamin said. "Monkeypox has been circulating outside of the country for several months now and it has finally made its way to the U.S."
Monkeypox has disproportionately impacted the LGBTQ community but anyone is susceptible to contracting the virus.
"Currently a majority of cases have been in those with men who identify as having sex with men," Benjamin said. "But anyone can get this and it’s transferred primarily through skin-to-skin contact especially when there are lesions. It is the lesions that are considered contagious."
As the virus continues to spread it is infecting more and more populations.
“I want to emphasize that anyone can get this. Men, women, and even children in other countries as reported by the World Health Organization," Benjamin said.
Benjamin says that the new declaration is going to help with the allocation of resources.
“Now that we have a declaration of public health emergency that is going to mobilize money, resources, and manpower to get the resources to the front lines," Benjamin said.
She emphasized the importance of public awareness and education surrounding the virus.
“It’s important that we all take precautions," Benjamin said. "It really takes a village.”