WHO committee will next week assess whether monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern

“I think it is now clear that there is an unusual situation, which means that even the virus is behaving in an unusual way compared to how it behaved in the past,” Tedros said. “But not only that, it’s also affecting more and more countries, and we think it also needs a coordinated response because of the geographic spread.”

The WHO defines a public health emergency of international concern, or PHEIC, as “an extraordinary event that is determined to pose a risk to the public health of other states through the international spread of a disease and to potentially require a response coordinated international”.

The organization says the definition implies that a situation is “serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected; has public health implications beyond the national border of the affected state; may require immediate international action”.

This definition comes from the International Health Regulations, which were created in 2005 and represent a legal agreement involving 196 countries with the aim of helping the international community prevent and respond to public health risks that could spread around the world.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes the regulations as “a legally binding agreement by 196 countries to enhance the ability to detect and report potential public health emergencies worldwide. The IHR require all countries have the capacity to detect, assess, report and respond to public health events.”

Two PHEICs are ongoing: poliomyelitis, which began in 2014, and Covid-19, from 2020.

Four others have been declared since the introduction of the regulations: the H1N1 flu from 2009 to 2010, Ebola from 2014 to 2016 and from 2019 to 2020, and the Zika virus in 2016.

WHO considering name change for virus

“WHO is also working with partners and experts around the world to change the name of the monkeypox virus, its clades and the disease it causes,” Tedros said. “We will make announcements on the new names as soon as possible.”

Tedros said there have been more than 1,600 confirmed cases and nearly 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox reported to the WHO this year from 39 countries, seven of which are places where monkeypox has been detected. for years. The other 32 are newly affected countries.

Seventy-two deaths have been reported this year in previously affected countries, and while none have been reported in newly affected countries, WHO is seeking to verify reports from Brazil of one death linked to the monkey pox.

According to the CDC, as of June 13, there were 65 confirmed or probable cases of monkeypox in the United States.
The ah-ha moment doctors realized the first American patient in the global outbreak had monkeypox:

WHO’s goals are to help countries contain transmission and stop the outbreak with public health tools, Tedros said, adding that raising awareness of the risks and actions to reduce transmission is key. in groups most at risk.

Although the WHO does not recommend mass vaccination against monkeypox, it issued interim guidelines on the use of smallpox vaccines for monkeypox on Tuesday, he said.

“While smallpox vaccines should provide some protection against monkeypox, clinical data and supply are limited,” Tedros said. “Any decision whether or not to use vaccines should be made jointly by those who may be at risk and their healthcare provider based on a case-by-case risk-benefit assessment.”

He also noted that it is essential that vaccines are equitably available wherever they are needed, and he said WHO is working with Member States and partners to develop a mechanism for equitable access to vaccines and treatments. .

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