Faced with a surge in monkeypox cases, the chapter World Health Organization It is expected to announce on Saturday whether the agency has decided to classify the outbreak as a global health emergency – the highest alert it can sound.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will speak at a virtual press conference at 13:00 GMT, the WHO said in a statement late Friday night.
It has not been announced what will be announced.
More than 15,800 people in 72 countries have been affected by monkeypox, according to US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates released July 20.
A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside West and Central Africa, where the disease has long been endemic.
On June 23, the WHO convened an emergency committee (EC) of experts to decide whether monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), the UN health agency’s highest alert level.
But the majority told Tedros that the situation at that time was not up to the threshold.
A second meeting was called on Thursday and the number of cases has further increased and Tedros said he was concerned.
“I need your advice to assess the immediate and medium-term public health implications,” Tedros said at the meeting, which lasted more than six hours.
An American health expert issued a grim warning late Friday night.
“Since the last IVF #monkeypox just a few weeks ago, we have seen an exponential rise in cases. It is inevitable that the number of cases will rise sharply in the coming weeks and months. That’s why @DrTedros needs to sound the global alarm,” tweeted Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO Collaborating Center for National and Global Health Legislation.
“Inaction will have serious implications for global health.”
– Discrimination Warning –
A viral infection that resembles smallpox and was first identified in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox eradicated in 1980.
According to a study of 528 people in 16 countries published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 95% of cases were sexually transmitted. This is the largest study to date.
Overall, 98 percent of those infected were gay or bisexual, and about a third are known to have attended on-site sex venues, such as sex parties or saunas, during the previous month.
“This transmission pattern presents both an opportunity for targeted public health interventions and a challenge as affected communities face life-threatening discrimination in some countries,” Tedros said, citing concerns that stigma and scapegoating could make it difficult to track the flash.
“I am well aware that any decision I make regarding the possible definition of a public health emergency of international concern involves consideration of many factors with the ultimate goal of protecting public health,” he added.
On Friday, the European Union’s Drug Enforcement Administration recommended for approval the use of Imnavex, a smallpox vaccine, for the treatment of monkeypox.
Imvanex, developed by Danish drugmaker Bavarian Nordic, has been approved in the EU since 2013 for the prevention of smallpox.
It has also been considered a potential monkeypox vaccine due to the similarities between monkeypox virus and smallpox virus.
The first symptoms of monkeypox are fever, headaches, muscle aches and back pain for five days.
The rash subsequently appears on the face, palms of the hands, and soles of the feet, followed by lesions, spots, and finally scabs.