The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the monkeypox outbreak a global public health emergency. This is the highest level of danger an organization can assign to an epidemic or pandemic.
According to the head of the organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the organization’s decision is due to a sharp increase in the number of virus infections in the world. In total, 16 thousand cases of infection were detected in 47 countries, while a month ago there were only 3 thousand cases.
Ghebreyesus explained that the WHO decides to declare an emergency based on five criteria, one of which is the speed of the spread of the virus. In this case, the monkeypox virus quickly spread to countries where it had not been seen before.
The head of WHO explained that the risk of infection with monkeypox in different regions of the world is now different. In Europe, the organization assesses it as high, in other parts of the world – as moderate.
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“There is a clear risk of further spread of the virus across different countries, although we assess the risk that the virus will cause disruption of international communication as low,” the head of WHO added.
WHO has developed four sets of recommendations for dealing with the virus for four categories of countries, depending on how many cases they have and how quickly the virus is spreading in them. Governments are encouraged to take coordinated action to protect vulnerable groups of citizens and stop the spread of the disease.
The monkeypox virus is similar to the blackpox virus, but not as contagious and deadly. The disease it causes is usually milder, much like chickenpox, and the symptoms go away on their own after a few weeks.
However, in some outbreaks in West Africa, deaths have been as high as 10%.
According to the first symptoms, it is quite difficult to identify monkeypox – this is fever, headache, back pain, which may have many other reasons.
Britain is actively vaccinating against the virus, and the government has already initiated a contact tracing program similar to the one that operated at the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.
Patients are treated with either the smallpox vaccine or antiviral drugs.
In Russia, the first case of monkeypox was registered in July. The disease was detected in a young man who returned from Europe.