WHO raises the monkeypox alarm.
The WHO declared the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency on Saturday, the highest alarm it can sound. WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called the worldwide monkeypox epidemic an urgent health emergency.
A group of specialists that convened on Thursday couldn’t agree, so he decided whether to issue the highest warning. “WHO assesses monkeypox risk as moderate worldwide and in all areas, excluding Europe,” he said.
According to a July 20 CDC report, 15,800 individuals in 72 countries had monkeypox. Since early May, monkeypox cases have risen beyond West and Central African nations where it is prevalent.
On June 23, the WHO organized an emergency committee to evaluate whether monkeypox is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). A majority told Tedros the issue hadn’t reached the threshold.
On Thursday, with case numbers climbing, Tedros summoned a second meeting. Tedros addressed the six-hour meeting, “I need your input on immediate and midterm public health ramifications.”
A US health specialist delivered a grave warning late on Friday. “Since the latest #monkeypox EC, cases have skyrocketed. Inevitably, instances will substantially climb in the following weeks & months. @DrTedros must raise the worldwide alert, “WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law head Lawrence Gostin tweeted.
First found in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less harmful and infectious than smallpox, which was eliminated in 1980. 95% of cases are sexually transmitted, according to the most extensive study to date, which included 528 persons in 16 countries.
98% of infected patients were homosexual or bisexual males, and a third had recently attended sex-on-site facilities like sex parties or saunas.
“This transmission pattern represents both an opportunity to implement targeted public health interventions and a challenge because, in some countries, the affected communities face life-threatening discrimination,” Tedros said, citing concern that stigma and scapegoating could make the outbreak harder to track.
Friday, the EU’s drug watchdog advised using Imvanex to treat monkeypox. Bavarian Nordic’s Imvanex has been licensed for smallpox prevention in the EU since 2013. Due to similarities between monkeypox and smallpox was also considered a monkeypox vaccine.
Monkeypox symptoms include fever, headaches, muscular soreness, and back pain. Lesions, patches, and scabs accompany rashes on the face, hands, and feet.
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