The World Health Organization has recently declared the monkeypox virus outbreak to be a global health emergency.
Following over 16.000 cases in 75 countries and five deaths resulting from the disease, WHO has issued the highest monkeypox alert after the second meeting of the organization’s emergency committee.
According to WHO’s director general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the monkeypox outbreak joins the other two health emergencies at present – the coronavirus pandemic and polio.
Despite the emergency committee being unable to reach a consensus and little is yet known about the person-to-person transmission of the virus, monkeypox was classified as a global health emergency, as the number of cases has considerably increased on a global level.
“The WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region, where we assess the risk as high”, Dr. Tedros commented.
The decision came as the organization intends to raise awareness about the disease, limit international spread of the virus, protect people who are at risk, as well as accelerate the development of vaccines.
“This is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups,” the director general added.
Moreover, WHO is currently releasing specific recommendations in order to boost protection against monkeypox. With more than 2.000 confirmed cases in the UK, gay and bisexual men in the first place should be offered the opportunity for immunisation, the organization believes.
Nevertheless, monkeypox is difficult to spread and the already-developed vaccine against smallpox also offers good protection against the monkeypox virus.
The first cases of human monkeypox were identified in the 1970s in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Initial symptoms feature a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a chickenpox-like rash on the body or around the mouth or genitals. Infection cases are usually mild.
If you think you caught the monkeypox disease, contact a health provider as soon as possible in order to assess your symptoms.