Monkeypox not a global emergency ‘at this stage’, WHO says

(London) – World Health Organization (WHO) says escalation Monkeypox outbreak in more than 50 countries that require close monitoring but do not guarantee declaration of a global health emergency.

In a statement on Saturday, a WHO emergency committee said many aspects of the outbreak were “unusual” and acknowledged that monkeypox – endemic in several African countries – had been neglected for many years.

“While some members expressed divergent views, the committee resolved by consensus to advise the Director-General of WHO that at this stage the outbreak should be determined so as not to become a global health emergency.

However, WHO has pointed to the “urgent nature” of the outbreak and said controlling its spread requires a “robust” response.

The commission said the outbreak should be “closely monitored and reviewed after a few weeks.” But it would recommend a reassessment before then if some new developments emerge – such as cases in sex workers; spread to other countries or within countries where cases have been reported; the severity of the cases increases; or the rate of spread is increasing.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus convened an emergency committee on Thursday after expressing concern about monkeypox outbreaks in countries that had not previously reported outbreaks.

“What makes the current outbreak particularly worrisome is the rapid rate of its spread, its continued spread into new countries and regions, and the risk of further long-term transmission into population groups,” said the WHO director. Vulnerable populations include immunocompromised persons, pregnant women and children”.

Monkeypox has plagued people for decades in Central and West Africa, but until last month the disease was not known to have caused significant outbreaks in many countries at once and in association with concerning people who have no travel links with this continent.

Declaring a global health emergency means that a health crisis is an “extraordinary” event that requires a managed response globally and has a high risk of disease spilling across borders. WHO has previously made similar statements about diseases including COVID-19, Ebola in the Congo and West Africa, Zika in Braziland relentless efforts to erase polio.

The declaration of emergency primarily serves as a call to draw more global resources and attention to an outbreak. Previous announcements have had a mixed effect, as the WHO has been largely powerless to try to persuade countries to act.

This week, the WHO said it had confirmed more than 3,200 cases of smallpox in monkeys in about 40 countries that had never reported the disease. The majority of cases are in men who are gay, bisexual or who have sex with other men, and more than 80% of cases are in Europe.

A top WHO adviser said last month the spike in cases in Europe could be linked to male sexual activity at two sex parties in Spain and Belgium, speculating. that its appearance in the gay and bisexual community was a “coincidence”. British officials say most cases in the UK involve men who report having sex with other men at locations such as saunas and sex clubs.

Scientists warn that anyone who has close physical contact with an infected person with monkeypox or their clothing or bed sheets is at risk, regardless of their sexual orientation.

People with monkeypox often experience symptoms such as fever, body aches, and a rash; Most recover within a few weeks without medical attention.

African monkeypox mainly affects people who come into contact with infected wild animals, such as rodents or primates. There have been approximately 1,500 reported cases of monkeypox, including 70 deaths, in Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic.

To date, scientists have not found any mutations in the monkeypox virus that suggest it is more transmissible or lethal, although the number of changes detected suggests that the virus is more transmissible or lethal. The virus is likely to have spread undetected for years.

The version of the disease that is transmitted outside of Africa usually has a mortality rate of less than 1%, while the version seen in Africa can kill up to 10% of those affected.

WHO is also creating a vaccine sharing mechanism for monkeypox, as can be seen Vaccine to rich countries like the UK, which currently has the largest outbreak outside of Africa.

Some experts warn that could entail deep inequalities between rich and poor countries during the coronavirus pandemic.

“France, Germany, the US and the UK already have a lot of resources and a lot of vaccines to deal with this and they don’t need a WHO vaccine,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, an expert on prevention and disaster response at Columbia University. .

“What we should do is try to help countries in Africa where monkeypox was once endemic and largely neglected,” he said. “Monkeypox is not a COVID disease, but our attention should not be so distorted that it becomes a problem only when it is witnessed in rich countries.”

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