With nearly 17,000 people affected in 74 countries, the World Health Organization has triggered the highest level of alert for monkeypox.
NB: The Imvanex vaccine was approved by the European Union for monkeypox. It is also being considered by the FDA in the United States.
“I have decided to declare a public health emergency of international concern,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), at a press conference ending the health organization’s emergency committee meeting. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the global risk was relatively moderate, with the exception of Europe, where it was high.
The WHO’s highest level of alert has therefore been triggered to combat this disease. Currently, almost 17,000 people are affected by monkeypox in 74 countries outside Africa, where monkeypox is generally more common. In the US, nearly 2,891 cases have been reported, according to the CDC as of July 22.
Public health crisis
This is the seventh time the WHO has used the alert level known as a “public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC).” This is used in situations that are “severe, sudden, unusual, or unexpected.” The WHO defines it as an “extraordinary event” whose spread poses a “risk to the public health of other states” and may require “coordinated international action.”
Majority of cases among MSM…
In the US, the majority of cases in which sexual orientation was revealed occurred in men who have sex with men (MSM).
“There is a real concern that MSM may be stigmatized or blamed for the outbreak, making it much more difficult to detect and stop it,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the WHO Emergency Committee on Thursday. This mode of transmission presents both an opportunity for targeted public health interventions and a challenge, as affected communities in some countries face life-threatening discrimination.
With this higher level of alert, the WHO is therefore calling for collective action against the disease.