The WHO is about to declare the spread of monkeypox a global health emergency – the highest alarm it can sound
- Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will give a virtual press conference at 1 p.m.
- Monkeypox has affected more than 15,800 people in 72 countries, CDC says
- An upsurge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May
The World Health Organization is expected to declare the monkeypox outbreak a global health emergency today – the highest alarm it can sound.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will deliver a virtual press conference at 1 p.m., the agency said in a statement Friday evening. He did not reveal what would be announced.
Monkeypox has affected more than 15,800 people in 72 countries, according to a tally from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released July 20.
An upsurge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside countries in West and Central Africa where the disease has long been endemic.
Monkeypox has affected more than 15,800 people in 72 countries, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tally released on July 20 (stock image)
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (above) will deliver a virtual press conference at 1 p.m., the agency said in a statement on Friday evening. He did not reveal what would be announced
On June 23, the WHO convened an emergency committee (EC) of experts to decide whether monkeypox constitutes a so-called public health emergency of international concern (USPPI) – the highest alert level of the United Nations health agency.
But a majority informed the Tedros that the situation, at that time, had not reached the threshold.
The second meeting was called on Thursday, with the number of cases rising further, where Tedros expressed concern.
“I need your advice to assess the immediate and mid-term implications for public health,” Tedros said during the meeting, which lasted more than six hours.
A US health expert issued a dire warning on Friday evening.
Authorities urge gay and bisexual men to be aware of new lesions, rashes or scabs and to get in touch with a sexual health clinic
“Since the last #monkeypox EC just a few weeks ago, we’ve seen an exponential increase in cases,” Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, said on Twitter.
“It” is inevitable that cases will increase in the weeks and months to come. This is why @DrTedros needs to sound the global alarm.
“A failure to act will have serious consequences for global health.”
The European Union’s medicines watchdog on Friday recommended for approval the use of Imnavex, a smallpox vaccine, to treat monkeypox.
Imvanex, developed by Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.
It has also been considered a potential monkeypox vaccine due to the similarity between monkeypox virus and smallpox virus.
A smallpox-like viral infection first detected in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.
Ninety-five percent of cases were transmitted through sexual activity, according to a study of 528 people in 16 countries published in the New England Journal of Medicine – the largest research to date.
Overall, 98% of those infected were gay or bisexual men, and around a third were known to have visited on-site sex venues such as sex parties or saunas in the previous month.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headache, muscle aches and back pain for five days.
Rashes appear on the face, soles of the hands and feet, followed by lesions, pimples and finally scabs.
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