BY CHIOMA UMEHA
Monkeypox is not a global public health emergency, according to the World Health Organization, WHO, who made this official statement over the weekend.
The announcement comes two days after WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus, called a meeting of the disease's Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations (IHR) to address the growing number of cases. He l expressed concern over the spike in the disease's outbreak while starting that outbreak of monkeypox is unquestionably an evolving health threat that they are closely monitoring.
According to Dr. Ifedayo Adetifa, Director-General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, NCDC, 41 confirmed cases have been reported in Nigeria out of the 162 suspected cases since January of this year.
Although there were other views in a separate statement the WHO Committee agreed that at the moment the outbreak was not a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
Monkeypox is a viral illness that causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions in men who have sex with men outside of the countries where it is prevalent.
The label "global emergency" so far only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio. The United Nations has backed down from applying it to the monkeypox outbreak following advice from an international expert meeting. The WHO Director-General agrees with the IHR Emergency Committee's advice on the multi-country monkeypox outbreak and does not consider the event to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern at this time.
The highest level of global alert, the PHEIC declaration, currently applies only to the COVID-19 pandemic and polio. Since May, more than 3,200 cases have been reported in 48 countries, many of which have never reported the disease before.
The highest numbers are currently in Europe, with the majority of cases involving men who have sex with men. So far this year, nearly 1,500 cases and 70 deaths have been reported in central Africa, where the disease is more prevalent, primarily in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Monkeypox vaccines and treatments are available, but they are in short supply.