WHO declares highest alert over monkeypox outbreak

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At a media briefing in Geneva, the head of the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.

At a media briefing in Geneva, the WHO Director-General said that 16, 000 cases of the disease have been reported in more than 75 countries and five people have died.

For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkey box outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.

Dr. Tedros also acknowledged that experts had been split over whether the country’s current outbreak constituted a global health emergency. For us, Imogen, what about this split?

The way Dr. Tedros explained it to us this afternoon was that he looked at the rate of spread and concluded that the decision is actually made at the end of the day. The emergency committee is there to analyze the data and advise him. For all those reasons, and the fact that although there is an effective treatment and vaccine in short supply.

I think those who thought today we needed to jog the attention of governments need to tell them to get their surveillance out there and invest more in treatments and vaccines, and let’s try if we’re not too late to get this under control.

Yes, I was about to say, so what are the implications of declaring this an emergency of international concern if it doesn’t force governments to react? No, it doesn’t, but they are signed up to the international health regulations. They’re members of the WHO.

They are supposed to pay attention. Let’s make no mistake though, this is not covered. We are not going to have lockdowns. We are not going to have travel restrictions. It’s a very different kind of illness.

However, it is a very unpleasant illness. You’re not likely to die, but it is very very unpleasant and the health sectors have a responsibility to monitor, track, and treat, and that is what the WHO is saying today. Pay attention to your population. Make your population aware.

The other thing that should be a worry to us all is that this is actually yet another zoonotic illness, something that originated in animals and has spread to humans.

We are increasingly seeing this in human health, and I think this should be a wake-up call for governments and their health services. Thank you very much indeed, Imogen folks.

Reference: BBC News bulletin

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