The World Health Organization has declared the growing monkeypox outbreak the ‘Public Health Emergency of International Concern’-the highest alert level. The designation means that the WHO now sees monkeypox as an important enough threat to global health that a coordinated international response is required to prevent the further spreading of the virus and its escalation into a pandemic.
Public Health Emergency Of International Concern
The designation of Public Health Emergency of International Concern is the WHO’s highest level of alert. It was introduced in 2007 and since then has been used 6 times for diseases including Ebola, Zika, and Polio. Last time it was used in January 2020 for the Covid-19 pandemic.
What Does The Declaration Mean?
The declaration cannot impose restrictions on national governments it just encourages them to take urgent actions under the guidance and recommendations of WHO. Although member states are required to report events that pose a threat to global health.
How Does WHO Decided To Declare MonkeyPox a Global Health Emergency?
Before declaring monkeypox a global health emergency, WHO’s emergency committee met to weigh the evidence and make a recommendation to director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. The committee was unable to reach a consensus, so Chief Tedros made the decision to issue the highest alert based on the rapid spread of the outbreak around the world.
“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,” Tedros said. “For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”
What Does Stats Tell Us About The Current Condition Of Monkey Pox?
Globally more than 16000 cases have been reported in 70 countries till the time of writing with Europe being the epic center. Five deaths have been reported in Africa. No deaths have been reported outside Africa so far. The number of confirmed infections rose 77% from late June through early July according to WHO data. The US has reported more than 2500 cases in 44 states. And Men who have sex with men are currently at the highest risk of infection.
Monkeypox Is Not New, So Why Does It Concern So Much This Time?
Though monkeypox is not a new disease as it was first reported in the 1950s, but this time it is evolving at a rate never seen before and in regions like Europe where the virus is not usually found.