Monkeypox Disease

Health Alert: WHO declares Monkeypox global emergency, warns against stigmatisation

*The World Health Organisation expresses concern that stigma and scapegoating could make the outbreak of the disease harder to track worldwide

*EU drug watchdog  recommends for approval the use of Imvanex to treat disease

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the Monkeypox outbreak to be a global health emergency —the highest alarm it can sound.

ConsumerConnect reports the global health body Saturday, July 23, 2022, disclosed the disease affected nearly 16,000 people in 72 countries across the world.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, at a press conference Saturday, said: “I have decided that the global #monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”

Tedros also stated a committee of experts who met Thursday was unable to reach a consensus, and so it fell on him to decide whether to trigger the highest alert possible.

He noted:  “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.”

A tally by the United States (US) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published July 20, indicated Monkeypox has affected over 15,800 people in 72 countries.

A surge in Monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic, agency report said.

It was also learnt the WHO, June 23, had convened an emergency committee (EC) of experts to decide if Monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) —the UN health agency’s highest alert level.

PHEIC is the rarely used top alert available to the World Health Organisation to tackle a global disease outbreak, according to report.

However, a majority advised Tedros that the situation, at that point, had not met the threshold.

The second meeting was convened Thursday with case numbers rising further, where Tedros said he was worried.

The WHO Director-General further told the meeting, which lasted more than six hours, that “I need your advice in assessing the immediate and mid-term public health implications.”

A US health expert reportedly sounded a grim warning late Friday.

“Since the last #monkeypox EC just weeks ago, we’ve seen an exponential rise in cases. It’s inevitable that cases will dramatically rise in the coming weeks & months. That’s why @DrTedros must sound the global alarm,” Lawrence Gostin, the Director of the WHO Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, said on Twitter.

Gostin noted: “A failure to act will have grave consequences for global health.”

Warning against discrimination

A viral infection resembling smallpox and first detected in humans in 1970, Monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980, according to report.

Ninety-five percent of cases have been 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 percent of infected people were gay or bisexual men, and around a third were known to have visited sex-on-site venues such as sex parties or saunas within the previous month.

Earlier, Dr. Tedros had said: “This transmission pattern represents both an opportunity to implement targeted public health interventions, and a challenge because in some countries, the communities affected face life-threatening discrimination.”

He further cited the concern that stigma and scapegoating could make the outbreak harder to track.

EU drug watchdog approves Imvanex for Monkeypox

The European Union’s (EU) drug watchdog Friday  recommended for approval the use of Imvanex, 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.

The EU considered a potential vaccine for Monkeypox because of the similarity between the monkeypox virus and the smallpox virus.

The first symptoms of Monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle pain and back pain during the course of five days.

Rashes subsequently appear on the face, the palms of hands and soles of feet, followed by lesions, spots and finally scabs.

Kindly Share This Story