Monkeypox, according to the head of the World Health Organization, is now a global emergency.

 Breaking News: Monkeypox, according to the head of the World Health Organization, is now a global emergency.

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On Saturday, the head of the World Health Organization made the unusual decision to declare monkeypox a global health emergency. This comes as countries struggle to deal with an increasing number of cases of the once-isolated virus.

The WHO expert committee's inability to agree on whether to raise the level of alert for the virus prompted the announcement from Director-General of the U.N. health agency Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The declaration of a "global emergency" amid a race for rare vaccines may encourage increased funding for the disease's eradication.

The organization's highest alert level, global emergency, does not always indicate that a disease is highly contagious or fatal. Similar statements were made about the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, the Zika virus in 2016 in Latin America, and the ongoing campaign to eradicate polio.

Despite the lack of agreement among specialists, Ghebreyesus made the choice, referring to himself as "a tiebreaker."

It was the first time the head of a U.N. health organization had taken such a stand without expert input.

According to Ghebreyesus, there is "a clear risk of future worldwide expansion."

We have an outbreak that has quickly expanded over the world through novel routes of transmission, about which we know too little, he concluded. For all of these reasons, I've come to the conclusion that the global monkeypox outbreak is a public health emergency of concern on a global scale.

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Although the lesions can be excruciating, some specialists contend the sickness isn't serious enough to demand attention, in part because most patients recover without needing medical assistance.

Seven to 14 days after contact, the disease's symptoms, which can include a fever, muscle aches, fatigue, and a possible body rash, start to manifest. Only Africa, where a more severe strain of the virus is growing, has seen monkeypox deaths to date.

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According to Ghebreyesus, a WHO emergency committee determined last month that the epidemic did not at the time constitute a public health emergency of worldwide concern.

He stated that 3,040 cases of monkeypox had been documented at the time in 47 different nations. Since then, the outbreak has grown to include more than 16,000 cases that have been documented in more than 70 nations.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the country's first two kid cases of monkeypox on Friday.

Growing reports of monkeypox infections in the US and elsewhere in the world cause alarm

A increasing global problem is monkeypox.

Monkeypox started to spread more broadly in May when officials recorded dozens of outbreaks worldwide, despite the fact that the virus has been present in some areas of central and west Africa for decades.

The only reported cases of monkeypox deaths to date have all been in Africa, where the virus is primarily transmitted to people by infected rodents and other animals. A more dangerous variant of the virus is primarily spreading in Nigeria and the Congo. However, without any connections to animals or travel to Africa, monkeypox is spreading from person to person in Europe, North America, and other places.

LGBTQ leaders claim that in order to contain the outbreak, which mostly affects gay and bisexual males, more testing kits, vaccines, and medical personnel are required.

Although monkeypox does not just spread through sexual activity, some doctors are concerned that it may eventually spread widely like gonorrhea, herpes, or HIV.

Because the virus can afflict anyone who comes into intimate contact with monkeypox, regardless of their sexual orientation, educating men who have sex with males about the virus without creating stigma remains a delicate balancing act.

recommended by the WHO

In his speech on Saturday, Ghebreyesus emphasized the need to limit human-to-human transmission in nations like the U.S. and to safeguard vulnerable populations.

Stopping the spread of monkeypox in communities still depends on testing for cases and then tracking contacts. Vaccinations are another crucial tactic.

Monkeypox patients should be isolated for the duration of their contagiousness, just as they should with COVID-19 cases, according to the statement.

To assist stop transmission among healthcare professionals, vaccinations and the appropriate Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) are also required.

According to the statement, those who are immunosuppressed, youngsters, and pregnant women may be at risk of developing serious monkeypox disease and should thus think about vaccinations.

Anyone who may have monkeypox symptoms or who has come into touch with a monkeypox case should delay all travel until they are certain they can do so without possibly spreading the virus, advised Ghebreyesus.

Experts react to the proclamation of a worldwide emergency

Although some experts questioned whether the announcement would be helpful, others advocated for the outbreak to be declared a worldwide emergency and questioned why the WHO hadn't done so earlier.

Monkeypox might have been declared a global emergency weeks ago, according to Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at Southampton University.

Head opined that it would be preferable to be proactive and overreact to the issue as opposed to waiting until it was too late to intervene.

LGBTQ advocacy group The Human Rights Campaign issued a statement on Saturday in which they "commend" the WHO's choice.

According to Jay Brown, senior vice president of programs, research, and training for the Human Rights Campaign, the designation of "global emergency" is "critical to quickly increase testing capacity and vaccine distribution in order to reach communities most impacted by the virus, particularly gay and bisexual men and transgender women, who comprise the majority of current cases."

Vaccines should also be provided to Africa, specifically focusing on individuals at most risk, such as hunters in rural regions, according to Dr. Placide Mbala, a virologist who oversees the global health division at Congo's Institute of National Biomedical Research.

There will still be instances in Africa, he warned, despite the fact that vaccination in the West might help contain the spread there. The risk to the rest of the globe will persist unless this issue is resolved.

Contributors include Elizabeth Weise, George Petras, Sara Moniuszko, Janet Loehrke, Boris Q'va, and The Associated Press from USA TODAY.

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