WHO declares ‘Monkeypox’ a global health emergency, virus has spread to more than 70 countries

Monkeypox disease, which has spread across many countries in the world, has been declared a health emergency by the World Health Organization. WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.

The WHO chief said, “A month ago I convened an emergency committee under international health regulations to assess whether the multi-country monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern. There were differing views at that meeting. The Committee unanimously recognized that the outbreak does not represent a public health emergency of international concern. At that time, 3040 cases of monkeypox were reported from 47 countries. Since then the outbreak has continued to increase and is now in 75 countries and More than 16 thousand cases have been reported from the areas and there have been five deaths.

“In light of the evolving outbreak, I reconstituted the committee on Thursday of this week to review the latest data and advise,” Tedros said in a statement. Thank you. On this occasion, the Committee was unable to reach a consensus on whether the outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern. In the report we are publishing today, committee members spoke in favor and against reasons given.”

“Under the International Health Regulations, I need to consider five elements in deciding whether an outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern. First, information provided by countries—which in this case shows that the virus has spread to many countries— those who have not seen it before. Second, three criteria for declaring a public health emergency of international concern. Third, the advice of the Emergency Committee. Fourth, scientific principles, evidence and other relevant information, and fifth, human risk to health, potential for international publicity and interference with international traffic.”

Tedros added, “WHO assesses that monkeypox is at moderate risk globally in all regions, except the European region. It also poses a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic is currently low.” So in short we have an outbreak that has spread rapidly around the world with new modes of transmission, which we know very little about and which meets the criteria in international health regulations. For all these reasons I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern.”

Three cases in India so far
So far three cases of monkeypox have been reported in India. Recently, the third case of monkeypox was reported in Kerala. Monkeypox infection was confirmed in a 35-year-old man who had returned from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in early July. Kerala Health Minister Veena George had told that the youth, a resident of Malappuram, had returned to his home state on July 6 and had fever since July 13. The youth is being treated at Manjeri Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. Earlier, the second case of monkeypox in India was registered in Kannur district of Kerala. The infection was confirmed in a person who returned from Dubai to Kannur on July 13. He is being treated at Pariyaram Medical College, Thiruvananthapuram. At the same time, the first patient was also found in Kerala. The person who arrived in Kollam from UAE on July 12 showed signs of infection.

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