Monkeypox declared an international health emergency

Current monkeypox outbreak was declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) like a public health emergency of international concern (USPPI). It is the level of highest global alerta distinction currently presented only by covid-19 and poliomyelitis.

This is the seventh time such a statement has been made in last 13 years. During this year 2009 it was for the H1N1 virus pandemic (swine flu), in 2014 for the poliomyelitisin the period 2013-2016 due to Ebola outbreak in West Africa, in the years 2015 and 2016 due to virus outbreak Zikaof 2018 to 2020 because of the epidemic Ebola Kivu, and the penultimate by the covid-19 pandemic.

The official WHO statement defines a public health emergency of international concern as “an extraordinary event determined to constitute a public health risk other states through the international spread of diseases and this potentially requires a coordinated international response.”

This decision is made when a situation arises that serious, sudden, unusual or unexpectedwhich has implications for public health beyond the national state border affected and which may require immediate international action. And it seems to be. The recommendations are temporary and require revisions every three months.

The WHO has reported that the risk of monkey pox it is moderate globally, but high in Europe, where most infections have occurred since the outbreak began last spring. From May 6 to July 22, 2022 more than 16,500 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in at least 74 different countries.

Countries with cases of monkeypox. In orange, countries that reported cases in 2022. In blue, countries that reported cases in previous years. CDC

As this monkeypox epidemic spreads, we are offering the virus an unprecedented opportunity establish themselves in non-African species. This could cause, different countries and continents, recurrent outbreaks in humans. And in the worst case, encouraging more dangerous variants of the virus to evolve. Many reasons to consider the WHO statement timely.

Who and how are they infected?

Currently, this is an epidemic that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those who have multiple partners. This means that we can stop it if we apply the correct strategies in communities with high risk of exposure, which may differ by context and include gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men. This, yes, avoiding at all times stigmatizing the main people concerned.

At the same time, we must not lose sight of the protection of vulnerable groups (immunocompromised people, children, pregnant women) likely to contract severe monkeypox.

From the onset of symptoms, the monkeypox virus can spread spread from person to person. He does this by direct contact with the infectious rash, scabs, or bodily fluids. But also in contact with respiratory secretions during face to face prolonged or during intimate physical contact, as does sexual contact. In addition, it is enough to touch clothing or bedding that has already been in contact with the infectious rash or the bodily fluids of an infected person for the contagion to occur.

The ace Pregnant women can transmit the virus to the fetus through the placenta.. It is also possible for people to contract monkeypox from infected animals, either by being scratched or bitten by the animal, or by preparing or eating meat or using products from an animal. infected.

monkey pox Getty Images/iStockphoto iSock

It is not currently known whether monkeypox can be spread through semen or vaginal secretions, but monkeypox DNA has been detected in semen up to 11 days after acute infection in humans. For this reason, some health agencies have taken a cautious approach, recommending that confirmed cases use condoms during sex for up to 12 weeks after complete cure of the infection. The illness usually lasts 2 to 4 weeks.

Risk communication and case isolation, among other measures

Actions proposed by WHO include specific risk communication and community engagement, case detection, case isolation and supportive treatment, contact tracing and even a specific vaccination for people with high risk exposure to monkeypox.

The statement should broaden the technical, financial and human resources possible and maintain mutual accountability for the actions of affected communities. Moreover, it puts additional pressure on governments to act.

we still have time to control the current epidemic and prevent the possibility of humans infected with the virus spreading it to wildlife outside of Africa. Let’s not miss this opportunity, it may be the last.

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