WHO just declared the monkeypox outbreak as a global emergency, after over 16,000 cases were reported in 75 countries!
Here is what you need to know…
WHO Declares Monkeypox A Global Emergency With 16K Cases!
On 23 June 2022, WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus convened an emergency committee meeting under Article 48 of the International Health Regulations to discuss the current monkeypox outbreak.
The Emergency Committee decided that the monkeypox outbreak did not represent a global emergency at that meeting. At that time, there were just over 3,000 cases of monkeypox in 47 countries.
However, Dr. Tedros convened another emergency committee meeting on Thursday, July 21, 2022, after the outbreak expanded to over 16,000 cases in 75 countries.
Even though the Emergency Committee once again was unable to reach a consensus, Dr. Tedros nevertheless declared that the monkeypox outbreak was officially a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), based on these reasons :
- The information showed that the monkeypox virus has spread rapidly to many countries that have not seen it before.
- The three criteria for declaring a PHEIC under the International Health Regulations have been met.
- The advice of the Emergency Committee, which did not reach a consensus.
- The scientific principles, evidence and other relevant information are currently insufficient and leave us with many unknowns.
- The risk to human health, international spread, and potential for interference with international traffic.
Read more : What You Must Know About Monkeypox!
Monkeypox Global Emergency : WHO Assessment + Recommendations
In his July 23, 2022 press conference, Dr. Tedros gave the WHO’s assessment of the monkeypox global emergency :
- The risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region where the risk is high.
- There is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with International traffic remains low for the moment.
- The monkeypox outbreak has spread rapidly around the world through new modes of transmission, which we understand too little.
WHO has issued an extensive list of Temporary Recommendations for four groups of countries :
- Countries that have not yet reported a case of monkeypox, or have not reported a case for more than 21 days.
- Countries with recently-imported cases of monkeypox and that are experiencing human-to-human transmission.
- Countries with transmission of monkeypox from animals to humans.
- Countries with manufacturing capacity for vaccines and therapeutics.
Although Dr. Tedros has declared monkeypox to be a global emergency, right now – this outbreak is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners.
Therefore, it is essential that countries work closely with communities to offer effective information and services to protect the health, human rights and dignity of the affected community.
He warned that stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus, and called on civil society organisations to help WHO fight sigma and discrimination that may result from this monkeypox global outbreak.
With the current tools we have at hand, the world can stop transmission and bring the monkeypox outbreak under control.
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