WHO has declared monkeypox an international health emergency – The Post


WHO has declared monkeypox an international health emergency – The Post
Written by aquitodovale

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the spread of monkeypox an international health emergency, the most serious definition of a health threat among those in use. Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus belonging to the same family as smallpox: at present, about 16,000 cases have been identified in 75 countries around the world. According to the WHO, there are five deaths attributable to the current increase in cases.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the decision to consider its spread an international health emergency despite a special committee of experts put together by the WHO had not expressed any indication in this regard; neither in June, when she had met for the first time, nor in recent days. In motivating his decision, Ghebreyesus explained that he made this decision because monkeypox “spreads around the world in ways of transmission that we know too little about.” Ghebreyesus, speaking to reporters, also criticized the current model by which the WHO handles cases of this type, arguing that it must become “more efficient”.

WHO declares a public health emergency of international concern when faced with “an extraordinary event that may pose risks to public health in other states”. The organization has declared this type of emergency six more times: in 2009 with the H1N1 flu epidemic, in May 2014 for polio, in 2014 and 2019 for Ebola, in 2016 for the Zika virus and in 2020 for the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by the MPXV virus (Monkeypox virus) and should not be confused with the much more risky smallpox, a disease declared eradicated in 1979 by the WHO following a massive vaccination campaign conducted in the late 1950s. and the late seventies.

– Listen also: The episode of “It Takes a Science” on monkeypox

In general, monkeypox is widespread in non-human primates (as the name suggests) and in some species of small rodents, especially in Africa. Infection is transmitted from these animals to humans through saliva and other fluids, or through direct contact. An infected person can in some circumstances infect another, for example through drops of saliva, contact with wounds or infected biological fluids, but the human-to-human transmission routes are not yet fully understood and are considered rare by experts.

Within a few days, those who contract the virus develop symptoms typical of viral infections such as fever, muscle aches, headache, fatigue and swollen lymph nodes. The disease then causes blisters and pustules to appear on the face and later on the hands and feet, which can be very itchy and crusted. Monkeypox has a positive course in most cases. Symptoms subside and disappear in a couple of weeks, without the need for special therapies.

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