TE24 Health Desk:
LONDON – The World Health Organization (WHO) says monkeypox outbreaks in more than 70 countries are an “extraordinary” situation that is now recognized as a global emergency.
Saturday’s statement could spur more investment in treatments for once-rare illnesses and intensify the fight for rare vaccines.
Monkeypox has been common in parts of central and western Africa for decades, but it was widespread across the continent until authorities discovered dozens of epidemics in Europe, North America and elsewhere in May. It is not known to cause outbreaks or spread widely among humans.
The declaration of a global emergency means that the monkeypox outbreak is an “unusual event” that could spread to other countries and requires a coordinated global response. WHO has previously declared emergencies for public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the 2016 Zika virus in Latin America, and the ongoing polio eradication effort.
The state of emergency primarily serves as a plea to draw more global resources and attention to the outbreak. Previous declarations have had many implications, as the UN health agency had little power to enforce the country.
Last month, a WHO expert committee said the global monkeypox outbreak did not yet constitute an international emergency, but the panel met this week to reassess the situation.
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries since May. So far, monkeypox deaths have only been reported in Africa, where a more dangerous version of the virus is prevalent, primarily in Nigeria and the Congo.
In Africa, monkeypox is a limited outbreak, usually not transboundary, and primarily infects humans from infected wildlife such as rodents. However, in Europe and North America, monkeypox is more common in people who have no contact with animals or who have recently traveled to Africa.
WHO’s top monkeypox expert, Ph.D. Rosamund Pike said this week that 99% of all monkeypox cases outside Africa were male, and 98% of them were men who had sex with men. Experts suspect that the monkeypox outbreak in Europe and North America was spread through sex at two raves in Belgium and Spain.
Michael Head, a senior researcher in global health at the University of Southampton, is surprised that the WHO has yet to declare monkey pox a global emergency and the conditions appear to have been met weeks ago.
That said, some experts have questioned whether such an explanation would be effective, arguing that the disease is not serious enough to warrant attention and that developed countries already have the means to combat monkeypox. Here. Bruises can be painful, but most people recover without medical help.
“I think it’s better to overreact to a problem than wait until it’s too late,” Head said. He said the WHO emergency declaration could help donors like the World Bank allocate funds to stop outbreaks in both West and African countries, where animals can be natural reservoirs of monkeypox. He added that he had sex.
In the United States, some experts estimate that monkeypox, along with gonorrhea, herpes, and HIV, may become mainstream sexually transmitted diseases in the country.
“The bottom line is that there has been a shift in the epidemiology of monkeypox. In monkeypox, an unexpected
Dr. Albertko, a professor of public health and epidemiology at Yale University, said the infection is widespread.
“The virus has several genetic mutations that indicate why this is happening, but controlling it requires a coordinated global response,” he says.
Ko said there were significant monitoring gaps as early as the early days of COVID-19 and called for an immediate and rapid expansion of testing.
“What we’re seeing is just the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The windows to stop rapid outbreaks in Europe and the United States have probably closed, but it is too late to prevent monkeypox from ravaging poor countries without the resources to deal with it.”
In the United States, some experts estimate that monkeypox may be the latest sexually transmitted disease to gain attention there, with authorities saying 1.5 million men are at risk of infection. is estimated to be higher.
Dr Placide Mbala, a virologist who heads the global health division at the Congolese National Institute of Biomedical Sciences, said he hoped all global efforts to contain monkeypox would be justified. Countries like the UK, Canada, Germany and the US have ordered millions of vaccines, but none have gone to Africa.
“The solution must be global,” Mbalaux said, adding that all vaccines sent to Africa would be used to target the most vulnerable people, such as poachers in rural areas.
“Vaccines in the West may help stop outbreaks there, but there will still be cases in Africa,” he said. “Unless the problem is solved here, risks remain in other parts of the world.”