Monkeypox: It is Not an International Emergency, But it Raises the Alarm

The World Health Organization, WHO, Points Out that an Intense Response to Monkeypox is Required, but that, for the moment, the Highest Level of Alert Should not be Declared According to International Health Regulations.

Monkeypox vaccine

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LatinAmerican Post | María Fernanda Ramírez Ramos

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The Emergency Committee of the World Health Organization met for three days to assess the danger of monkeypox. Although the conclusions indicate that it is not a public health emergency that generates global concern, health systems must remain alert and properly monitor cases.

To date, the disease has spread to all regions and cases have been detected in 50 countries, with more than 3,000 infected, according to information from the WHO. This body indicated in an official statement that the committee “unanimously recognized that the outbreak constitutes an emergency and that controlling it will require an intense response.” It also points out that there are many unknowns and lack of data on the disease, so a new evaluation will be necessary in the coming weeks.

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What causes concern?

The monkeypox outbreak that has spread through the population in recent months has had some unusual features. To begin with, it has spread in areas that have traditionally never had this disease. In this sense, it is the largest outbreak seen.

"What makes the current outbreak especially concerning is the continued rapid spread to new countries and regions, and the risk of sustained new transmission in vulnerable populations, such as immunocompromised people, pregnant women and children, " Tedros explained. Adhanom Gebreyesus, director general of the WHO in a press release.

On the other hand, it is a disease that has generated a lot of dilemmas, since high infections have been observed among men who have sex with men and have not received the smallpox vaccine, according to information from the WHO. However, it is not a sexually transmitted disease, but some groups have used this information to stigmatize homosexuals.

In this regard, UNAIDS expressed concern that this may reinforce homophobic and racist stereotypes against Africans, since it is a disease that initially emerged in Africa. In this regard, the Emergency Committee also stressed that it is a disease that has been neglected for years in African countries. In this way, it is possible to infer again the hypocrisy of the international system, which establishes priorities according to interests that do not respond to the welfare of the population and respect for human rights.

In this way, it has also been pointed out that a coordinated and international response to the threats posed by this virus is necessary. It is necessary to apply the lessons of the pandemic and act more quickly and in a cooperative way.

Finally, the experts pointed out that, due to the low level of immunization for smallpox in many regions, the population may be more vulnerable to this disease. At the moment, the highest health agency does not recommend mass vaccination, since the available vaccines must be given to the most vulnerable population.

Likewise, the role of citizens is fundamental, because in case of being suspected of monkeypox, it is necessary to notify the country's health authorities and isolate oneself to avoid infecting other people. The first symptoms usually appear 7 to 14 days after exposure. Welts or sores on the skin are usually present, as well as headache, swollen glands, fever, tiredness and general pain. At the moment, it is known that contagion can occur through direct contact with the hives of infected people, through contact with a contaminated object or through contact with the fluids of respiratory droplets. However, it has not yet been detected that it is spread via aerosol.

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