Monkeypox remains a global health emergency: WHO – World
The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday that its emergency committee had decided that monkeypox would continue to be classified as a global health emergency.
After an Oct. 20 meeting on the virus that suddenly began spreading around the world in May, experts “maintained the consensus view that the event continues to meet … the criteria for a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” the WHO said in a statement. .
UN Health Agency first announced so-called PHEIC – its highest alert level – on July 23, and experts said that while some progress had been made in containing the disease, it was too soon to declare the state of emergency over.
The head of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accepted and agreed with the experts’ advice, according to the statement.
Since monkeypox suddenly began spreading outside the West African countries where it was long endemic six months ago, it has killed 36 people out of more than 77,000 cases in 109 countries, according to the WHO.
The outbreak outside West Africa has primarily affected young men who have sex with men.
But since a peak in July, the number of people infected with the disease, which causes fever, muscle aches and large, ulcer-like skin lesions, has steadily declined, particularly in Europe and North America, the hardest-hit areas in the early stages of the global outbreak.
The number of new cases worldwide fell by 41 percent in the seven days to Monday compared to the previous week, the WHO said.
However, the WHO’s emergency committee stressed that there were a number of lingering concerns.
They cited ongoing transmission in some regions, ongoing preparedness and disparity in response within and between countries, and the potential for greater health consequences if the virus begins to spread more among more vulnerable populations.
They also pointed to the continued risk of stigma and discrimination, weak health systems in some developing countries that lead to under-reporting, and lack of equal access to diagnostics, antiviral drugs and vaccines.
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