Global Monkeypox Outbreak Worsens

Global Monkeypox Outbreak Worsens

access_time2022-07-07 08:00:03

Since May 13, at least 5,115 confirmed cases of monkeypox have been recorded in 51 countries, including 350 total in 27 states in the United States and the District of Columbia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) .

The disease has the potential to cause serious illness — the World Health Organization (WHO)  has recorded one death so far in Nigeria.

Although the WHO has stressed that the general public is highly unlikely to get monkeypox, the international health agency is now pushing countries to act immediately and do everything possible to slow the transmission of this life-threatening disease.

In a media briefing , the WHO's director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, warned that the risk that monkeypox could become established in nonendemic countries (outside of Africa, where it originated) is real. The organization recently stated , “We are removing the distinction between endemic and nonendemic countries, reporting on countries together when possible, to reflect the unified response that is needed.”

While the WHO on June 25  said that the outbreak had not yet reached the level of global health emergency, the World Health Network , a coalition of citizens and experts who are committed to global action to protect public health, has declared monkeypox a pandemic.

The WHO is particularly concerned about the risks of this virus for vulnerable groups, including children and pregnant women. 

“That scenario can be prevented,” said Dr. Ghebreyesus. “The WHO urges affected countries to make every effort to identify all cases and contacts to control this outbreak and prevent onward spread.”

The WHO called the situation “unusual” because this is the first time that monkeypox cases and clusters are being reported in widely different areas that have little or no association with West or Central Africa, where the disease primarily occurs.

The WHO warned that the public health risk could become high if the virus spreads to groups at higher risk of severe disease, such as young children and immunosuppressed persons. Time magazine  learned that the CDC is developing a protocol aimed at allowing use of Bavarian Nordic’s Jynneos vaccine in children, if needed. The health agency is also on the lookout for mutations — scientists recently found that two genetically distinct monkeypox variants are circulating in the United States.


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