Monkeypox outbreak declared 'global health emergency' as cases spread to over 75 countries

According to the WHO, more than 17,000 cases of the Monkeypox virus have been recorded in 75 countries across the world


                            Monkeypox outbreak declared 'global health emergency' as cases spread to over 75 countries
WHO Directer-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (inset) addressed the nations via a virtual conference about the Monkeypox outbreak (Pablo Blazquez Dominguez and Naohiko Hatta/Getty Images)
ADVERTISEMENT

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the highest level of alert over the Monkeypox outbreak. The organization has announced a worldwide emergency for the second time in two years as more than 17,000 cases of the Monkeypox virus have been recorded from 75 different countries. 

A press release issued by the WHO stated that Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus overruled a panel of advisers, who could not come to a consensus and declared a “public health emergency of international concern,” a designation the WHO currently uses to describe only two other diseases -- Covid and polio. "I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern," Ghebreyesus said on July 23, 2022.

ADVERTISEMENT

RELATED ARTICLES

What is Orthopoxvirus? NY masks up as CDC issues alert for virus genus responsible for monkeypox

'Dismissal of basic biology': Outrage after new WHO guidance declares sex is NOT LIMITED to male or female

ADVERTISEMENT



 

WHO Directer-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus addressed the nations via a virtual conference regarding the Monkeypox outbreak. According to Ghebreyesus, "Except for the European region, where the risk is high, WHO states that the risk of monkeypox is moderate everywhere." The report also stated that there is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment. 

ADVERTISEMENT

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that there are over 2,800 confirmed cases of Monkeypox in 44 states and the District of Columbia. According to state officials, 900 instances of Monkeypox have been verified in New York, the state with the highest recorded number in the United States, with 93 per cent of those cases being found in New York City.

ADVERTISEMENT

The WHO has designated a disease as a PHEIC seven times since 2007. According to the National Library of Medicine, the other six include the H1N1 influenza pandemic of 2009, the Ebola outbreaks in West Africa from 2013 to 2015, the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 2018 to 2020, the Zika outbreak in 2016, the ongoing poliovirus outbreak that began in 2014, and the Covid pandemic.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the press statement given by WHO, Ghebreyesus stated, "Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners."

ADVERTISEMENT

Talking about the spread and prevention of the virus, Ghebreyesus said, "I believe that if the appropriate tactics are used by the appropriate parties, this pandemic may be prevented."

"This is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups. It’s therefore essential that all countries work closely with communities of men who have sex with men, to design and deliver effective information and services, and adopt measures that protect the health, human rights, and dignity of affected communities," he further added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Anthony S Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Saturday that "this is something we absolutely need to take seriously." "We must operate as though it will be able to spread far more than it is currently capable of since we do not yet fully understand its extent and potential," he added.

ADVERTISEMENT

USA Today tweeted a video of President Joe Biden where he said that Monkeypox is something "everybody should be concerned with."


ADVERTISEMENT


 

What is Monkeypox?

The WHO plans to rename monkeypox because experts found the present term to be "discriminatory and stigmatizing." Monkeypox is a rare disease caused by infection with the monkeypox virus. It is part of the same family of viruses as the variola virus, the virus that causes smallpox. Monkeypox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms but milder and it is rarely fatal. The disease is not related to chickenpox.

ADVERTISEMENT

The virus was discovered in 1958 when two outbreaks of a pox-like disease occurred in colonies of monkeys kept for research. Despite being named “monkeypox,” the source of the disease remains unknown. However, African rodents and non-human primates (like monkeys) might harbor the virus and infect people.

Monkeypox virus is spreading worldwide, WHO declares a high alarm. (Photo: screenshot/ CNN Tweet)
Monkeypox virus is across the globe (screenshot from CNN/Twitter)

ADVERTISEMENT

According to the CDC, "Monkeypox spreads in different ways. The virus can spread from person to person through direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or body fluids, respiratory secretions during prolonged face-to-face contact, or during intimate physical contact, such as kissing, cuddling, or sex, touching items (such as clothing or linens) that previously touched the infectious rash or body fluids."

ADVERTISEMENT

The CDC website also reported, "Pregnant people can spread the virus to their fetuses through the placenta. It’s also possible for people to get monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an infected animal. Monkeypox can spread from the time symptoms start until the rash has fully healed and a fresh layer of skin has formed. The illness typically lasts 2-4 weeks. People who do not have monkeypox symptoms cannot spread the virus to others. At this time, it is not known if monkeypox can spread through semen or vaginal fluids."

ADVERTISEMENT