The UN health body says monkeypox is not yet a ‘public health emergency of international concern’, like Covid-19 and polio
The World Health Organization did not raise alarm over the monkeypox epidemic at the maximum-possible levels during an emergency committee meeting that took place on Saturday. Tedros Ghebreyesus (head of UN watchdog) called it. “clearly an evolving health threat.”
“I am deeply concerned by the spread of monkeypox, which has now been identified in more than 50 countries, across five WHO regions, with 3000 cases since early May,”Ghebreyesus made the following statement after the meeting.
Two dozen health professionals and scientists representing all walks of the world made up the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. “many aspects of the current multi-country outbreak are unusual.”
However, “a few members expressed differing views,”The advisory committee came to a final agreement. “that at this stage the outbreak should be determined to not constitute a PHEIC.”
At the moment, the WHO has designated only the Covid-19 Coronavirus Pandemic, and continuing global efforts to eradicate Polio as PHEICs, which is a public emergency of international concern. The threat level was raised by the WHO a week after the initial decision of the health agency to not declare Covid-19 as a PHEIC on January 23, 2020.
Since early May, there have been more than 3,200 confirmed cases across 48 countries, including the UK, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Canada, the US and other states where monkeypox does not usually spread, according to WHO, in addition to hundreds of suspected cases and dozens of reported deaths in Central Africa this year.
At this time, the WHO does not recommend mass vaccination for monkeypox. However, high-risk groups have been offered monkeypox shots by health officials in Canada, the UK and New York. “gay, bisexual and other men who had sex with men.”
Close contact can spread the monkeypox virus through body fluids and respiratory droplets as well as by inhaling contaminated material. The first symptoms are fever, headaches muscle aches, backache and swelling of the lymph nodes.
While it is common for the rash to appear on the forehead, then spreading to other areas of the body quickly, WHO notes that current cases of the disease are affecting the genitals and the anus. They do not have the typical flu symptoms.