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WHO Director-General calls monkeypox a global health emergency

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared monkeypox a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), taking the rare step of overturning the World Health Organization convened to consider the matter Organizing Committee.

“The Director-General of WHO takes this opportunity to express his sincere thanks to the Chair and members of the Committee and their advisors for their careful consideration of these provided valuable input,” Dr Tedros said in a statement released on Saturday. “Committee members did not reach consensus on their recommendation for a PHEIC to identify this event.”

“The WHO Director-General recognizes the complexities and inconsistencies associated with this public health event. Certainty,” he continued. “The Director-General has determined that a multi-country outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a [PHEIC] after taking into account the comments of committee members and advisors, as well as other factors consistent with the International Health Regulations.”

Thursday, A total of 15 of the 16 members of the WHO International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee and 10 advisors participated in a Zoom meeting on the issue. Proponents of declaring a PHEIC cite several reasons, including:

  • The multinational outbreak of monkeypox meets all three criteria for defining a PHEIC: 1) An extraordinary event 2) poses a risk to many countries through the international spread of the disease, and 3) it may require a coordinated international response
  • there as from As LGBTQIA+ community leaders in several countries have emphasized, deploying all available means and tools to respond to an incident is a “moral responsibility”
  • . Globally reported cases are rising and may underestimate the true size of the outbreak
  • Monkeypox cases reported in children and pregnant women, reminiscent of the HIV pandemic The initial phase of
  • is not yet fully understood to maintain the current mode of transmission of the epidemic

Those who objected to the PHEIC de clarification also had several reasons, including:

  • Compared to the June 23 report, the World The overall global risk assessment submitted by the WHO Secretariat remains unchanged
  • 12 countries in Europe and the Americas now report the greatest burden of the outbreak, “according to existing data, there is no sign of an exponential increase in the outbreak. Case numbers in these countries” and early signs of a stabilizing or declining trend observed in some countries
  • The vast majority of cases occur in people who have had sex with multiple partners (MSM) and ongoing transmission can be stopped with interventions targeting this specific population
  • Disease severity is considered low
  • The outbreak is maturing and the effectiveness of policies and interventions is producing clearer signs

In a report released Friday, the WHO noted that the agency had reported a total of 15,328 laboratory-confirmed monkeypox cases and 72 suspected cases, including 5 deaths. Since May 13, “a significant proportion of these cases have been reported from countries that have not previously recorded monkeypox transmission,” the report said. Of the recorded cases, 72 were children, of which 23 were children aged 0-4 years.

As of Friday, the CDC reported 2,891 cases, with the highest number of cases in New York (900), followed by California (356) and Florida (247). Six states — Montana, Wyoming, Alaska, Mississippi, Maine and Vermont — have not reported cases.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra called the WHO statement a “call for global action” by the health community. “

“Monkeypox has spread around the world, and we will continue to take decisive action to address it on U.S. soil and in collaboration with our overseas partners around the world,” Becerra “Since the first case of monkeypox in the United States was confirmed on May 18, the Biden-Harris administration has moved swiftly to provide vaccines, testing and treatments to those in need. We are determined to accelerate our response in the coming days.

White House COVID-19 response coordinator Ashish Jha, MD, MPH, said in a call with reporters on Friday whether a public health emergency over monkeypox should be activated in the United States “It’s an ongoing but very positive conversation at HHS,” adding that if it does happen, “this statement will come from the Department of Health and Human Services; it won’t be a statement from the White House. “

Jha reiterated this on Sunday on CBS Facing the Nation One view, saying the administration “is now looking at the public that HHS may call a health emergency, but it depends, what does this allow us to do? Now we have more than 2,000 cases, but we’ve ramped up vaccines, ramped up treatments, ramped up testing, and we’ll continue to look at all of our policy options. “

“I do think monkeypox can be contained,” he continued. “We have a simple and straightforward strategy for this: make testing widely available — we have the ability to do it every week.” 80,000 tests — we’re going to be releasing hundreds of thousands of vaccines over the next few days and weeks, so there’s one that’s ramping up a lot right now… The plan is to eliminate this virus from the U.S., and I think we can do it.

He acknowledged reports that the virus had been found in two children in the United States, adding that “we are working with groups of doctors on broader testing. “

Corporate and survey writer Amanda D’Ambrosio contributed to this story.

  • Joyce Frieden oversees MedPage Today’s Washington coverage, including coverage on Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court, health care industry associations, and federal agencies. 35 years of experience. Follow



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