Monkeypox Now A Public Health Emergency

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The World Health Organization has categorized the viral disease MONKEYPOX, as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

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The rate at which monkeypox has been spreading over the past month raised concerns with the World Health Organization — prompting a response from the WHO’s International Health Regulations Emergency Committee.

“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little, and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations,” said W.H.O. Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

At the end of June, the world saw about 5,000 cases of monkeypox across 51 countries.

At the end of July, over 16 thousand cases of monkeypox have been reported over 75 countries and territories.

The WHO Emergency Committee did not reach a consensus on whether or not to declare Monkeypox as a Public Health Emergency.

The Director-General’s forward initiative to declare the virus as a public health emergency was backed by heavy consideration of several elements despite the debate.

Dr. Ghebreyesus said, “For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.”

Monkeypox is considered a mild illness. Symptoms which start within 3 weeks of exposure include fever, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, a rash, or lesions across the skin.

According to the WHO, monkeypox can spread through physical, skin-to-skin contact.

It may also spread through respiratory droplets in close range.

Dr. Ghebreyesus recommended preventative actions to fight the spread of monkey pox.

Measures such as raising awareness about the virus, establishing clinical protocols in response to monkeypox, and making use of existing and new vaccines to combat the virus.

“With the tools we have right now,” Ghebreyesus continued, “we can stop transmission and bring this outbreak under control.”

Currently, Guam has no reported cases of monkypox.

Reach reporter Devin Eligio: devin@spbguam.com