Monkeypox cases: Over 16,000 cases have been registered this year, the world health body said.
WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Saturday said that the world health body is finally sounding the highest alarm on the monkeypox virus, which is now said to have spread to at least 75 nations and territories. More than 16,000 cases of the virus – that was once largely confined to Africa – have been reported so far this year. Even as he called it a global health emergency, the WHO chief said that the nations could control the spread of the virus with coordinated response. He also explained the reason behind declaring monkeypox a public health emergency.
Here are five reasons why monkeypox has been declared a global health emergency:
1. Firstly, the world health body acknowledged, the virus has spread to “non-endemic countries”. “The information provided by countries in this case shows that this virus has spread rapidly to many countries that have not seen it before,” Dr Ghebreyesus said.
2. Three criteria for declaring a public health emergency of international concern have been met, the world health body’s chief highlighted.
3. He also cited the advice of the Emergency Committee, “which has not reached consensus”. Last month, when the panel had met 3,040 cases from 47 countries had been recorded. The number – within a month – has grown five-fold.
4. Citing the fourth reason, the WHO chief said that “scientific principles, evidence and other relevant information – which are currently insufficient and leave us with many unknowns”.
5. And fifth, has been counted as “the risk to human health, international spread, and the potential for interference with international traffic”. “For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” the WHO chief said.
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The World Health Organization on Saturday declared a ‘public health emergency’ over monkeypox, weeks after debating over sounding the alarm. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that he had to act as a tie-breaker to resolve a disagreement on whether the outbreak had reached the level of a global health emergency. Recently it has rapidly spread across continents, registering spread in the United States, Canada and even India. Europe is among the worst-hit regions.
The monkeypox outbreak seems to have been largely concentrated “among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners,” WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Saturday as the world health body declared a global health emergency with the virus spreading fast across nations. At the same time, however, the WHO chief warned against discrimination. “Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” he underlined.
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