Monkeypox: WHO declares international health emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) decided to today (23) declare that monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern. The announcement was made by the director general of the entity, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, during a press conference.

“We have an outbreak that has spread rapidly around the world, through new forms of transmission, about which we understand very little, and which fits the criteria of the International Health Regulations. For these reasons, I have decided that the monkeypox epidemic represents a public health emergency of international concern,” Tedros said.

The decision was not consensual among members of the WHO Emergency Committee, but the director-general decided to go ahead with the declaration. He pointed out that the virus has spread rapidly to several countries, which increases the risk of international spread. Another concern expressed by Tedros concerns the potential for the virus to interfere with travel from one country to another, as with Covid-19. However, the WHO still considers the risk to be low.

Monkeypox is one caused by a virus and transmitted by close contact with an infected person with skin lesions. Contact can be through hugging, kissing, sexual intercourse or respiratory secretions. Transmission also occurs by contact with objects, fabrics (clothes, bedding or towels) and surfaces that were used by the infected.

One of the WHO’s concerns is the stigma that the disease can cause, since the majority of those infected are men who have sexual relations with other men, especially those with multiple partners.

“In addition to our recommendations to countries, I also call on civil society organizations, including those with experience working with HIV positive people, to work with us in the fight against stigma and discrimination,” said Tedros.

Translated to english by RJ983

From Brazil, by EBC News

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