WHO Declares Monkeypox Outbreak a Public Health Emergency

The World Health Organization on Saturday declared the unprecedented monkeypox outbreak that has spread around the world a public health emergency, a decision that will empower the agency to take additional measures to try to curb the virus’s spread. The same committee met just one month ago and declined to declare a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC. But in May, public health officials in London reported six cases in people who had not traveled to endemic countries. In an unusual move, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the declaration even though a committee of experts he had convened to study the issue was unable to reach a consensus. The monkeypox virus is spread through close contact, mainly through direct exposure to lesions, to contaminated clothing or linens, or through respiratory droplets. While cases historically have featured broad rashes, cases in the current outbreak have predominantly involved people having just a few genital or anal lesions. But health officials have stressed that the outbreak could spread to more vulnerable populations, including pregnant women, immunocompromised people, and children. Monkeypox infections lead to painful lesions and rashes, including vesicles forming on the palms. (). Continue reading.

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