Countries not doing enough to stop monkeypox outbreak, epidemiologist says

According to an infectious disease epidemiologist, there are serious concerns that the US and other countries are not doing enough to prevent monkeypox from becoming a massive global outbreak.

in the weekends, World Health Organization Describing monkeypox as a public health emergency of international concern, it has activated its highest alert level for the virus.

The rare designation means that the WHO now sees the outbreak as a significant enough threat to global health that a coordinated international response is needed to prevent the virus from potentially progressing into a pandemic.

“This is a unique outbreak where we know this virus, but it is causing huge outbreaks in many countries around the world. In fact, if we look at the number of cases, the United States surpasses Spain in numbers. Cases behind,” said Dr. D., senior director of the Special Pathogens Program at New York City Health + Hospitals. Sira Help told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Monday.

“This is not an outbreak to be taken lightly. A really big concern is that it becomes an established virus in the United States as well as other countries that this virus is not endemic.”

“This is really unacceptable,” Madad said, “particularly in the wake of the COVID pandemic, for countries struggling to contain the spread of monkeypox.”

“After all the lessons learned from Covid-19, we should not be dealing with an outbreak of this scale and are not doing enough to ensure that it does not become endemic,” she said.

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Although the WHO declaration does not impose requirements on national governments, it serves as an urgent call to action.

rising virus cases

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that monkeypox can be spread through respiratory droplets after prolonged face-to-face interactions or intimate physical contact. The virus can also be spread through bodily fluids, skin wounds, as well as through contact with contaminated items such as bedsheets and clothing.

more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox More than 70 countries have been reported so far this year, according to WHO data, and there has been a 77% increase in the number of confirmed infections from late June to early July.

Madd said that while men who have sex with men are at the highest risk of infection, the virus is beginning to spread to the wider community.

“For example, in the United States, two children contracted monkeypox through home transmission of someone with monkeypox. We know those cases may begin to rise over time as more transmission is occurring in the community. ,” He said.

on Monday, WHO warns against complacency In containing the outbreak, it added that there is no guarantee that the virus will continue to spread within specific communities.

While cases have so far been mainly concentrated within gay and bisexual communities, the UN health agency said there is little evidence the disease will remain confined to those groups.

Rather, their early detection could be a harbinger of a wider outbreak.

US vaccine challenges

Madd said the best way to cut the chains of transmission is to vaccinate people who are at risk and may have been exposed to monkeypox. He said, however, that access to vaccines is an issue, especially in the US.

On Friday, a senior White House official said that the President Joe Biden is considering declaring a public health emergency In response to the growing monkeypox outbreak. White House COVID response coordinator Dr Ashish Jha said the administration is looking at how a public health emergency declaration could enhance the US response to the outbreak.

According to the CDC, the US has so far reported more than 2,500 monkeypox cases in 44 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico.

“Vaccines are being released in regions, cities and states. By the end of this year, we’re going to have about 1.6 million by the end of 2023 or by the middle of 2023 — we’re going to have millions of doses,” HELP he said.

“But the problem here is that it’s not getting enough,” she said because demand currently exceeds supply. “We really need to get ahead of this pandemic.”

, CNBC’s Spencer Kimball contributed to the report.