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WHO declares Monkeypox a global health emergency following surge in cases

More than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported across 75 countries so far this year, and the number of confirmed infections rose 77% from late June through early July, according to WHO data. 

WHO declares Monkeypox a global health emergency following surge in cases snt
Author
India, First Published Jul 23, 2022, 8:00 PM IST

The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Saturday activated its highest alert level for the growing monkeypox outbreak, declaring the virus a public health emergency of international concern.

More than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported across 75 countries so far this year, and the number of confirmed infections rose 77% from late June through early July, according to WHO data. Five deaths from the virus have been reported in Africa this year. No deaths have been reported outside Africa so far.

Also read: Another monkeypox case reported in Kerala, 3rd case in India; SOPs issued

Most people are recovering from monkeypox in two to four weeks, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus causes a rash that can spread over the body. People who have caught the virus said the rash, which looks like pimples or blisters, can be very painful.

Since the monkeypox virus is rarely seen in North American and European countries, the present outbreak is extremely unusual. The outbreak is presently centred in Europe, where more than 80% of confirmed illnesses will occur globally in 2022. The United States has reported more than 2,000 cases.

In response to the Covid-19 outbreak, the WHO last proclaimed a public health emergency in January 2020. Two months later, it was determined to be a pandemic.

Also Read | Monkeypox: Know how to prevent your kid from getting infected

According to its organisational laws, the WHO has no formal procedure for declaring a pandemic, hence the term is interpreted broadly. In an effort to alert complacent nations to the "alarming levels of spread and severity" of the virus, the organisation proclaimed Covid a pandemic in 2020.

Monkeypox, which is not a new virus like Covid-19, was  originally identified in 1958 when scientists were studying caged monkeys in Denmark. The first human case of the virus was identified in Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1970.

Despite producing a less severe illness, monkeypox belongs to the same virus family as smallpox. Smallpox was declared extinct in 1980, but the WHO and national health organisations have decades of experience battling the disease. Health experts will have crucial information to battle monkeypox thanks to the successful war against smallpox and the tools created against it.

Also Read | Monkeypox: Know early symptoms, how is it spread, other details

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