New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday declared monkeypox outbreak across countries as a public health emergency. Making the announcement, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”
Several countries, including India and US, have reported cases of the viral zoonotic disease, with symptoms similar to smallpox. More than 16,000 cases have now been reported from 75 countries and there had been five deaths so far as a result of the outbreak. India has reported three confirmed cases in Kerala.
“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. For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
Symptoms, Spread Of Monkeypox
Initial symptoms of monkeypox typically include a high fever, swollen lymph nodes and a blistery, chickenpox-like rash or lesions – often on the mouth or genitals in the recent cases. Infections are usually mild.
The monkeypox virus can spread through contact with body fluids, sores or items such as clothing and bedding contaminated with the virus. It can also spread from person to person through respiratory droplets, typically in a close setting, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In parts of Africa, monkeypox is an endemic. However, this year more than 15,000 cases have been reported in countries that historically don’t see the disease. In the US and Europe, the disease has been largely reported in men who have sex with men. Though health officials have insisted that anyone can catch the virus.
In Europe, there have been at least six monkeypox cases among kids 17 years old and younger.
According to report published by doctors in the Netherlands, a boy who seen at an Amsterdam hospital with about 20 red-brown bumps across his body. While it was diagnosed as monkeypox, doctors said they could not determine how he got it.
In Africa, monkeypox infections in children have been more common, and doctors have noted higher proportions of severe cases and deaths in young children. Experts have suggested that the reason behind it may be that many older adults were vaccinated against smallpox as kids.
The vaccination for smallpox was discontinued 40 years ago when the disease was eradicated. So, those who were not vaccinated against smallpox wouldn’t have any protection against the related monkeypox virus, AP quoted Dr James Lawler, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Nebraska Medical Center.