The World Health Organization does not classify the outbreak of monkeypox in more than 50 countries as an “emergency of international concern” – at least not “at the moment”. This was announced by the WHO in Geneva after days of deliberations by an emergency committee made up of independent experts from all over the world. However, the committee intends to reassess the situation quickly if the infection rate and the number of countries affected increase in the coming weeks or if there are clusters of cases among vulnerable groups.
In order to contain the outbreak, measures such as surveillance, risk communication, contact tracing, isolation, treatment and vaccination must be used more intensively, emphasized WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He was “deeply concerned”. A health threat is developing that needs to be closely monitored. Tedros explained that there have already been 3,000 cases since May.
Monkeypox is actually prevalent in western and central Africa and very rarely elsewhere, making the current outbreaks unusual, particularly in western Europe. Symptoms include fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, and skin rashes, which usually start on the face and spread to the rest of the body. Monkeypox is transmitted through close body and skin contact. The course of the disease is usually mild.
Also read: How to protect yourself from monkeypox
According to the World Health Organization, mass vaccinations against monkeypox are currently neither necessary nor recommended. An international health emergency is the highest level of alert that WHO can impose on a health threat. Most recently, in 2020, the WHO had identified an “emergency of international concern” due to the corona pandemic.
wa/rb (rtr, dpa, afp)