Here We Go, Again | World Health Organization: Monkeypox outbreak is now a global emergency;

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The World Health Organization said the expanding monkeypox outbreak in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that now qualifies as a global emergency.

The emergency declaration mostly serves as a plea to draw more global resources and attention to an outbreak. Past announcements had mixed impact, given that the U.N. health agency is largely powerless in getting countries to act.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 74 countries since about May. To date, monkeypox deaths have only been reported in Africa, where a more dangerous version of the virus is spreading, mainly in Nigeria and Congo.

In Africa, monkeypox mainly spreads to people from infected wild animals like rodents, in limited outbreaks that typically have not crossed borders.

In Europe, North America and elsewhere, however, monkeypox is spreading among people with no links to animals or recent travel to Africa.

Before a global health emergency is declared, the WHO’s emergency committee meets to weigh the evidence and make a recommendation to the director general.

The committee was unable to reach a consensus on whether monkeypox constitutes an emergency. Tedros, as the WHO’s chief, made the decision to issue the highest alert based on the rapid spread of the outbreak around the world.

“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,” Tedros said. “For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.” 

Five deaths from the virus have been reported in Africa this year. No deaths have been reported outside Africa so far.

Most people are recovering from monkeypox in two to four weeks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The virus causes a rash that can spread over the body. People who have caught the virus said the rash, which looks like pimples or blisters, can be very painful.

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