The World Health Organization on Saturday said the rapid spread of monkeypox across dozens of countries doesn’t represent a worldwide health emergency right now.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described monkeypox as an evolving health threat, nonetheless, and urged governments around the globe to step up surveillance, contact tracing, testing and to be certain that that individuals at high risk have access to vaccines and antiviral treatments.
The WHO convened its emergency committee to find out what level of threat monkeypox currently poses to the international community. Not less than 3,000 monkeypox cases across greater than 50 countries have been identified since early May, in accordance with WHO data.
The committee weighed whether or to not activate the WHO’s highest alert level in response to the outbreak, called a public health emergency of international concern. Covid-19 and polio are the one other virus outbreaks considered international public health emergencies by the WHO.
Although the WHO didn’t activate its highest alert level, Tedros said the outbreak raises serious concern since it is spreading rapidly in countries where the virus will not be normally found. Historically, monkeypox has spread at low levels in distant parts of West and Central Africa. In the present outbreak, 84% of cases reported worldwide are in Europe, which may be very unusual.
“What makes the present outbreak especially concerning is the rapid, continuing spread into latest countries and regions and the danger of further, sustained transmission into vulnerable populations including those that are immunocompromised, pregnant women and youngsters,” Tedros said in a press release Saturday.
The WHO director said research on the circulation of monkeypox in Africa has been neglected, which has put the health of individuals there and around the globe in danger.
Monkeypox primarily spreads through close physical contact with a one who is infected or contaminated material reminiscent of shared clothing or bedsheets. The virus can spread through respiratory droplets if an infected person has lesions of their throat or mouth. This requires sustained face-to-face contact, nonetheless, and monkeypox will not be believed to spread through aerosol particles.
Respiratory droplets fall to the bottom quickly, while aerosol particles linger within the air for an extended time period. Covid-19 spreads through aerosol particles, which is one in every of the explanations it’s so contagious.
Monkeypox is in the identical virus family as smallpox, nevertheless it has milder symptoms. Most individuals recuperate in two to 4 weeks without specific medical treatment.
The monkey outbreak is primarily affecting gay and bisexual men who said they’ve had sex with latest or multiple partners, in accordance with the WHO. Of the 468 monkeypox patients that disclosed demographic information, 99% are men. Most of them identified as men who’ve sex with men and had a median age of 37, in accordance with the WHO.
The U.S. has reported 142 confirmed or suspected monkexpox cases across 23 states and Washington D.C., in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Health officials within the U.S. sought to lift awareness ahead of Pride month about how the virus spreads and what the symptoms appear like so people can protect themselves from infection. Although men who’ve sex with men are at higher risk immediately, anyone can catch monkeypox through close physical contact no matter their sexual orientation.
Monkeypox often begins with symptoms much like the flu, reminiscent of fever, headache, body aches, chills, exhaustion and swollen lymph nodes. A rash that appears like pimples or blisters then appears on the body. Persons are most infectious once they have the rash.
Some patients in the present outbreak have developed a rash only on the genitals or anus before showing any flulike symptoms, nonetheless, indicating it’s spreading through sexual contact in those cases, in accordance with the CDC. In other cases, patients developed the rash with none flulike symptoms in any respect.
The U.S. has stockpiled two different vaccines and an antiviral treatment to fight smallpox and monkeypox. Jynneos is a two-dose vaccine approved for people ages 18 and older. The CDC generally recommends Jynneos over the one other option, ACAM2000, an older generation smallpox vaccine. Jynneos is taken into account safer than ACAM2000, which may have serious unwanted effects.
The WHO has said mass vaccination will not be really helpful right now to stop monkeypox. The U.S. is offering vaccines to people who find themselves at high risk of exposure to the virus.
The international health agency has only applied the emergency designation six times for the reason that rules were implemented within the mid-2000s. The last time WHO declared a worldwide health emergency, before Covid, was in 2019 for the Ebola outbreak in eastern Congo that killed greater than 2,000 people. The agency also declared global emergencies for the 2016 Zika virus, the 2009 H1N1 swine flu, and the 2014 polio and Ebola outbreaks.