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Monkeypox Declared as Global Health Emergency by World Health Organization

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the monkeypox outbreak as a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ (PHEIC) on July 23, 2022. Since the first case found outside Africa in May 2022, more than 16,500 people have been confirmed infected in over 80 countries that don’t generally see cases. Monkeypox has been circulating in parts of Africa for decades. This is the seventh time since the alarm system originated in 2005 that the WHO has declared a PHEIC-a step to trigger a coordinated international response and unlock funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments. Two of those warnings, for COVID-19 and polio, are still in place. The opportunity for containing the global monkeypox outbreak is rapidly closing as the virus is already established in an animal reservoir in some parts of Africa, making its eradication a difficult task. The worrying factor is that the virus could spread from humans to other animals, creating new reservoirs from which humans might contract it repeatedly.

 

The PHEIC alerts the public-health officials that the time to act is now and all the countries should work to increase the number of tests, boost contact-tracing efforts and to isolate infected people as early as possible. Also, the PHEIC makes it apparent to all the nations that their involvement in the international response which might include sharing vaccinations and medications is essential for containment. In this instance WHO produced country-specific guidelines including advice on testing, public health precautions and messaging, travel warnings, infection prevention and control, and international cooperation.

 

References:

 

doi: https://doi.org/10.1038/d41586-022-02054-7

 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/07/1123152