Monkeypox: World Health Organisation declares global heath emergency

The monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries has been declared a “global health emergency” by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus issued the declartion despite a lack of consensus among members of the organisation’s emergency committee.

“In short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the international health regulations,” Tedros said.

“I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views among the members” of the committee, he added.

As of 21 July 2022, there were 2,208 confirmed cases in the UK – and of these, 2,115 were in England, according to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

More commonly known symptoms of the virus are high temperature, a headache, muscle aches, backache, swollen glands, shivering and exhaustion according to the NHS.

The UKHSA said this week that it had procured 100,000 more doses of an effective vaccine to tackle the rising number of monkeypox cases.

The declaration by the WHO could encourage a increase in investment in treating the disease, and mostly serves as a plea to draw more global resources and attention to an outbreak.

The emergency declaration means the outbreak is an “extraordinary event” which threatens to move into other countries and requires a coordinated global response.

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 are among the other healrth crises to have been declated a global health emergency.

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