WHO raises highest alert level for outbreak of monkeypox

The World Health Organization has declared a worldwide health emergency due to the outbreak of monkeypox.
This is the highest level of warning that the WHO may issue in response to a global increase in cases.

The announcement was made at the conclusion of the second meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus.
More than 16,000 cases have been recorded from 75 countries, according to Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO.

He said that five people have died as a consequence of the epidemic so far.
There are currently only two previous comparable health crises: the coronavirus epidemic and the ongoing campaign to eliminate polio.

Dr. Tedros said that the emergency committee could not agree on whether the epidemic of monkeypox should be recognized as a global health emergency.
However, he said that the epidemic had swiftly expanded around the globe, and he concluded that it was absolutely a matter of worldwide concern.

Dr. Tedros said that too little was known about the novel means of transmission that had enabled its proliferation.

“According to the World Health Organization, the risk of monkeypox is moderate internationally and in all areas with the exception of Europe,” he noted.

He said that there was an obvious danger of additional international spread, but that the risk of interfering with international traffic was still limited.
Dr. Tedros said that the announcement will expedite the development of vaccinations and the execution of measures to contain the virus’s spread.

The WHO is also providing guidelines that it believes will encourage governments to take steps to limit the spread of the virus and safeguard people who are most vulnerable.
Dr. Tedros said, “This epidemic can be halted with the appropriate techniques in the right people.”

He said that instances are now prevalent among males who have had sex with other men, particularly those with several sexual partners and that governments must implement steps to safeguard their health, human rights, and dignity.

“Stigma and bigotry may be just as harmful as any illness,” he said.
In the 1950s, monkeypox was first identified in central Africa.
There have been more than 2,000 confirmed cases in the United Kingdom.

Some homosexual and bisexual males, as well as some healthcare professionals, are seen to be at the most risk of exposure to monkeypox. Health experts have previously recommended that these individuals be administered a vaccination.

Typical first symptoms include a high fever, enlarged lymph nodes, and a blistery, chickenpox-like rash or lesions – often on the lips or genitalia in recent instances. Typically, infections are minor.

Analysis box by health and science journalist James Gallagher
The declaration of a worldwide emergency is an important act.

It is a rallying cry for countries to take the virus seriously, it promotes global awareness, and it may assist developing nations in acquiring the instruments necessary to manage monkeypox.

In theory, we have the means to combat the infection. Monkeypox is not as contagious as Covid, and we already have an effective vaccine (designed for smallpox) against it.

And although anybody may get monkeypox, the epidemic is primarily concentrated among homosexual, bisexual, and other males who engage in sexual activity with men.
This may make it simpler to combat the epidemic, since measures, such as immunizations and public health information, can be directed to individuals at greatest risk.

Remember, however, that there are still nations in which same-sex partnerships are illegal, and that shame and persecution may function as a barrier to aid.
Whether we can end monkeypox is as much a social and cultural issue as it is a problem with the virus itself.

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