The categorization, which comes after a global spike in infections, is the highest alert the WHO can issue. It was announced at the conclusion of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus’ second meeting. According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, more than 16,000 cases have currently been reported from 75 different countries.
He stated that the outbreak has already resulted in five deaths. Only two such comparable medical crises exist today: the coronavirus epidemic and the ongoing fight to eradicate polio. According to Dr. Tedros, the emergency committee was unable to agree on whether the epidemic of monkeypox can be considered a global health emergency.
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However, he claimed that the virus had quickly spread over the globe and that he had come to the conclusion that it was really of global importance. According to Dr. Tedros, too little was known about the novel routes of transmission that had facilitated its spread. He continued, “The WHO has determined that the risk of monkeypox is moderate internationally and in all regions, with the exception of the European region, where we have determined that the risk is high.
Although the potential of interfering with international traffic was now modest, he added that there was still a definite risk of further international spread. According to Dr. Tedros, the statement will hasten the creation of vaccines and the implementation of strategies to stop the virus’s spread.
The WHO is also making suggestions in an effort to encourage nations to take steps to curb the virus’s spread and protect people who are most vulnerable. According to Dr. Tedros, “This outbreak can be controlled with the appropriate methods in the right people.” The Democratic Republic of the Congo was where the first case of human monkeypox was discovered in the early 1970s.
There have been more than 2,000 confirmed cases in the UK so far. Health officials have already recommended that vaccination be given to those who are most at risk of contracting monkeypox, including some gay and bisexual men and some healthcare workers.
A high fever, swollen lymph nodes, and blistery, chickenpox-like lesions are frequently present in the early stages of the disease, especially on the lips or genitalia in recent occurrences. Most infections are minor.
It serves as a call to action for nations to treat the virus seriously, increases global awareness, and may enable less developed nations to acquire the resources they require to combat monkeypox. In theory, we have the means to combat the infection. Monkeypox does not spread as rapidly as Covid, and a vaccine that provides effective protection has already been created (for smallpox).
“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global #monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”-@DrTedros pic.twitter.com/qvmYX1ZBAL
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) July 23, 2022
Although anyone can get monkeypox, the majority of cases are in homosexual and bisexual men and other males who have sex with men. Due to the ability to target interventions, such as vaccinations and public health information, at people who are most at risk, the outbreak may be easier to control.
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However, keep in mind that there are still nations where same-sex partnerships are forbidden, and that stigma and persecution can make it difficult to provide support. The ability to eradicate monkeypox depends as much on socioeconomic and cultural issues as it does on the virus itself.
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