WHO declares international emergency over monkeypox outbreak

Os principais sintomas da doença são erupções cutâneas, úlceras e febre, e a recomendação é buscar atendimento médico diante desse quadro
The main symptoms of the disease are skin rashes, ulcers and fever, and the recommendation is to seek medical attention in the face of this condition.| Photo: EFE Agency

The World Health Organization (WHO) this Saturday declared an international emergency due to the current outbreak of monkeypox, after about 16 a thousand cases (five of them fatal) have already been registered in 67 countries, many of them in Europe, where the disease was not endemic. The decision was announced at a press conference by the director-general of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, two days after the meeting of an emergency commission with experts on this disease to analyze the possible declaration, which will oblige national health networks to increase their preventive measures.2022

This committee chose not to declare the emergency at a first meeting held in June (when there were 3,000 cases), and on this occasion, according to Tedros, there was also no complete consensus among experts, but the director general decided to declare an emergency in view of the high and growing number of cases in various regions of the planet. 2022

Among the criteria used by the WHO to declare this emergency, as highlighted Tedros, is the fact that “the virus is spreading rapidly in many countries where there were no cases before.” The director-general of the WHO also indicated that the risk of contagion from monkeypox was raised to a “high” level in Europe, which concentrates 80% of cases, maintaining the “moderate” level in the rest of the world, including Africa, where the disease has been endemic for decades.

Tedros stressed that, despite the global alert, the outbreak “is concentrated mainly in men who have sex with other men and with multiple partners”, group for which he requested assistance and information about the disease. In this regard, he commented that efforts must be made with measures that protect the dignity and human rights of the affected communities, since “stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus.”

This is the seventh time that the WHO declares an international emergency (mechanism started in ), after having done so for influenza A in 2017 ; Ebola, in 2005 and 2018 ); polio, in 2005; the zika virus, in 2017; and Covid-19, in 2022 – this last emergency is still in effect.

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