The World Health Organization (WHO) said they have plans to finalize information regarding the spread of the monkeypox disease. In a statement last Wednesday, the organization laid out the findings that would help scientists categorize the monkeypox outbreak as a global public health emergency.
Monkeypox Outbreak as Public Health Emergency of International Concern
7 July, 2022
UN health director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the organization would conduct a second meeting with the emergency committee regarding the escalating cases of monkeypox. Currently, over 6,000 cases of the said infection are confirmed across 58 countries.
The monkeypox disease first emerged in May. Initial patients of the condition were citizens of the Central and West African regions, the part of the continent where the infection is endemic.
Tedros said at a WHO press conference in Geneva that the agency is concerned about the figures for detecting and spreading the virus.
There is also a lack of testing methods that were supposed to help people confirm their status, and this problem heightens the chance of cases of potential patients not being detected, Tedros continued.
Last June, WHO already convened about the decision to announce the monkeypox outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). If the infection constitutes the criteria based on this emergency alert, the organization will assign the highest public health alarm to the virus.
However, the announcement is hindered by the lack of testing kits that would confirm the cases, especially in Europe, which is now considered the epicenter of the outbreak and contains 80 percent of the global population infected by the virus.
Meeting to Announce Monkeypox Virus as Global Health Threat Scheduled This July
Tedros explained that the real-time data is being followed by the scientists at WHO and assured that this information is updated regularly to track the epidemiology and evolution of monkeypox and assemble countermeasures that would prevent further outbreaks.
According to a report by Science Alert, Tedros will hold the next meeting on July 18 or sooner, if required.
Since 2009, there have been six PHEIC announcements given by WHO. The last on the list was 2019’s novel coronavirus pandemic. A meeting was held for COVID-19 in January that same year, but it was not announced as a global health threat until March 11 due to the worsening situations in many countries.
WHO said that most of the detection of monkeypox disease is prevalent in men who conduct sexual intercourse with other men. The virus targets individuals younger and those living in urban regions.
Symptoms of the monkeypox disease include swollen lymph nodes, rashes similar to chicken pox, and high fever.
Tedros explained that WHO is currently working with governments and pharmaceutical companies to coordinate and share vaccines against the disease and focus on accessibility measures for people who are at the very danger of getting the virus.