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Monkeypox is officially a global emergency


Health experts say clinics are dealing with monkeypox

04:52

Expanding an epidemic of monkeypox More than 70 countries face an “emergency” that has been deemed a global emergency, the head of the World Health Organization said on Saturday, a declaration that could prompt further investment in treatment for the once-rare disease and worsen the scramble for scarce vaccines.

A global emergency is the WHO’s highest alert level, but designation does not mean the disease is particularly contagious or deadly. Similar statements were made for ongoing efforts to eradicate polio in addition to the 2016 Zika virus and COVID-19 pandemic in Latin America and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus decided to call monkeypox a global emergency despite the lack of consensus among experts in the UN health agency’s emergencies committee, and he acted as a “tiebreaker”. It was the first time that the head of a UN health agency made such a decision unilaterally without expert advice.

“We have an epidemic that is rapidly spreading around the world through new modes of transmission that we understand very little,” Tedros said. “I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and there are differing opinions.”

Dr. Michael Ryan, head of emergencies at the World Health Organization, said that the director-general declared monkeypox a global emergency to take the current epidemics seriously around the world.

Although monkeypox has existed in parts of central and western Africa for decades, it was not known to cause large outbreaks or spread among humans outside the continent until authorities discovered dozens of outbreaks in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Last month, a WHO expert committee said the monkeypox outbreak was not yet an international emergency, but the panel convened 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 about May. To date, monkeypox deaths have only been reported in Africa, where a more dangerous version of the virus is prevalent, mainly in Nigeria and the Congo.

In Africa, monkeypox is spread mainly by rodents such as wild animals that infect humans, usually in limited transboundary outbreaks. In Europe, North America, and elsewhere, however, monkeypox is spreading among people who have no contact with animals or recent visits to Africa.

WHO’s best monkey flower specialist Dr. Rosamund Lewis said this week that 99% of all monkeypox cases outside of Africa were in men, and 98% were in men who had sex with men. Experts believe that the monkeypox outbreaks in Europe and North America may have been sexually transmitted twice in Belgium and Spain.

“While I have now declared a public health emergency of international concern, this is an epidemic concentrated among men who have sex with men, particularly men who have multiple sexual partners,” Tedros said. “That means it’s an epidemic that can be stopped with the right strategies.”

Britain recently downgraded its assessment of monkeypox after seeing no signs of widespread spread beyond gay, bisexual or men who have sex with other men and noting that the disease does not spread easily or cause severe disease.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it “supports” the WHO’s emergency declaration and hopes it will strengthen international action to address the outbreak. The US has reported more than 2,800 cases of monkeypox and shipped more than 370,000 vaccines to US states that have reported cases.

Some experts have questioned whether such a declaration would help, arguing that the disease is not serious enough to warrant attention and that rich countries fighting monkeypox already have the funds to do so. Most people recover without needing medical attention, although the lesions can be painful.

Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, said the WHO’s emergency declaration could help donors such as the World Bank allocate funds to prevent outbreaks in both the West and Africa.

In the United States, some experts speculate whether monkeypox is on the verge of becoming a sexually transmitted disease in the country, like gonorrhea, herpes and HIV.

Yale University public health and epidemiology professor Dr. “The bottom line is that we have now observed a widespread, unexpected contagion in monkeypox epidemiology,” said Albert Ko. “There are some genetic mutations in the virus that show why this is happening, but we need a globally coordinated response to bring it under control.”

Ko called for an immediate expansion of the tests, saying there were significant gaps in surveillance.

“The cases we’re seeing are the tip of the iceberg,” he said. “The window to quickly stop the outbreaks in Europe and the US has probably closed, but it is not too late to stop monkeypox from wreaking havoc on poor countries without the resources to control it.”

WHO’s Tedros urged the world to “come together in solidarity” to distribute treatments, tests and vaccines. for the monkey flower. The UN agency has previously said it is working to create a vaccine exchange mechanism for the worst-affected countries, but offered few details on how it might work. Unlike the many companies producing the COVID-19 vaccine, there is only one manufacturer of the monkeypox vaccine, Denmark’s Bavarian Nordic.

Dr. Placide Mbala, a virologist who heads the global health department at Congo’s National Institute of Biomedical Research, said he hopes any global effort to end the monkey disease will be fair. Countries including Britain, Canada, Germany and the United States have ordered millions of doses of the monkey vaccine, but none have gone to Africa.

“The solution must be global,” Mbala said, adding that any vaccine sent to Africa would be used to target those at highest risk, such as hunters in rural areas.

“Vaccination in the West may help contain the epidemic there, but there will still be cases in Africa,” he said. Unless the problem is solved here, the rest of the world will remain at risk.”

Monkeypox is officially a global emergency

Source link Monkeypox is officially a global emergency

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