Monkeypox has spread to dozens of nations in just a few weeks, and the World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a worldwide emergency as a result. To date, there have been more than 16,000 cases outside of Africa.
An epidemic that is spreading globally
According to Tedros, we have an outbreak that has swiftly expanded throughout the globe through new routes of transmission, about which we know much too little, and that “fits the criteria” for a public health emergency.
In order to declare a public health emergency when the committee inability to come to a consensus, the organization’s director general had to for the first time defy his advisors.
The group had previously stated in May that although quick action is required, the sickness could be contained.
At the time, Sylvie Briand, WHO director for global infectious hazard preparedness, had said to the U.N. organization’s annual assembly, “We think that if we put in place the right measures now, we probably can contain this quickly.” “We don’t know if there are many more cases in areas that are undiagnosed, or if we are just witnessing the tip of the iceberg.”
Briand added, “For us, we think that the main focus right now is attempting to control this transmission in non-endemic countries.” He emphasised that early case detection, isolation, and contact tracing were essential to containing the outbreak.
Is it actually a public health emergency though?
Despite the fact that there are now five times as many cases as there were when the WHO examined the outbreak back in June, several experts disagree with Tedros’ choice. These experts have criticised the procedure for being unduly cautious and shortsighted.
However, Dr. Boghuma Titanji, a physician who specialises in infectious diseases at Emory University in Atlanta, argue that the new proclamation is “better late than never.”
According to Titanji, who spoke to The New York Times, “one can argue that the response globally has continued to suffer from a lack of coordination with separate countries working at very different paces to solve the problem.”
“There is almost a capitulation that we cannot prevent the monkeypox virus from establishing itself in a more permanent way,” she added.
It can be challenging to determine when a virus should be declared a public health emergency, but when it comes to diseases, it seems erroring on the side of caution. After all, we wouldn’t want a virus to get more widespread than it can be stopped before we find out it should have been declared an emergency.