The WHO (World Health Organisation) has Declared Global Health Emergency and sounded the highest alarm on the Monkeypox Virus.
- More than 16,000 cases of the virus – that was once largely confined to Africa – have been reported so far this year 2022.
- Declaring a global emergency means the monkeypox outbreak is an “extraordinary event” that could spill over into more countries and requires a coordinated global response
- The virus has spread to “non-endemic countries”. This virus has spread rapidly to many countries that have not seen it before.
- Three criteria for declaring a public health emergency of international concern have been met as per WHO.
- The three criteria for such a declaration are that it is an “Extraordinary Event,” that it “Constitutes a Public Health Risk” to other States through the international spread of disease and that it “potentially requires a coordinated international response.”
- The number – within a month – has grown five-fold.
- Scientific principles, evidence and other relevant information, are currently insufficient, leaving many unknowns.
- The risk to human health, international spread, and the potential for interference with international traffic.
- WHO previously declared emergencies for public health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, the Zika virus in Latin America in 2016 and the ongoing effort to eradicate Polio.
- The emergency declaration mostly serves as a plea to draw more global resources and attention to an outbreak.
- Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity.
- The infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.
- Infected people break out in a rash that looks a lot like chicken pox.
- But the fever, malaise, and headache from Monkeypox are usually more severe than in chicken pox infection.
- In the early stage of the disease, Monkeypox can be distinguished from smallpox because the lymph gland gets enlarged.