The World Health Organization will assemble an emergency committee of specialists to evaluate whether the rapidly spreading monkeypox outbreak outside of Africa can be classified as a global health emergency. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, said Tuesday that he decided to call the emergency committee on June 23 because the virus has displayed “unique” recent behavior by spreading well outside the African countries where it is prevalent.
He told reporters, “We believe it also requires a coordinated response due to the geographic dispersion.” Declaring monkeypox as an international health emergency would give it the same status as the Covid-19 pandemic, indicating that the generally rare disease is still a threat to countries around the world, according to WHO.
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The United Kingdom reported 470 instances of monkeypox across the country on Monday, the vast majority of whom were gay or bisexual men. Last week, British scientists said they couldn’t tell if the disease’s spread in the UK had peaked. The gathering of outside specialists could also help increase awareness and knowledge of the virus, according to Tedros, who noted that the WHO recently announced updated guidelines for monkeypox vaccination.
Case counts are increasing every day, said Dr. Ibrahima Soce Fall, WHO’s Africa emergencies director, and health officials face “several gaps in terms of knowledge of the dynamics of the transmission” – both in Africa and beyond. “With the help of the emergency committee’s suggestions, we should be able to better control the situation.
” But that doesn’t imply we’re heading straight into a public health emergency of international significance,” he said, referring to the highest degree of warning for virus epidemics set by the World Health Organization. “We don’t want to wait until things get out of hand before contacting the emergency committee.”
The United Nations’ health organization encourages “judicious” immunization rather than bulk vaccination. Surveillance, case tracking, and patient isolation are all used to control the disease, according to the report. A top WHO consultant stated last month that the pandemic in Europe and beyond was likely spread by sex at two recent rave parties in Spain and Belgium.
WHO convenes experts to decide if monkeypox is an emergency | GreenWatchBD pic.twitter.com/6e7TQrCRpJ
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According to scientists, anyone, regardless of sexual orientation, can contract monkeypox if they come into close physical contact with an infected person or their clothing or bed sheets. While research into the effectiveness of some vaccinations for smallpox — a related disease — continues, WHO has been working with partner countries to develop a method through which some vaccines for smallpox — a related disease — might be made available to countries that are impacted.
More than 1,600 cases and over 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox have been recorded in 39 countries this year, according to Tedros, including seven nations where monkeypox has been documented for years. There have been 72 documented deaths, but none in the newly impacted countries, which include the UK, Canada, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the US. The current monkeypox outbreak in Europe and other parts of the world is the first time the illness has been reported to spread among people who have never traveled to Africa.
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