Tue, 26 Jul 2022 08:26 PM IST
The world is witnessing the spread of cases of zoo tonic virus monkeypox more rapidly than ever, however, WHO officials believe that the 'monkeypox outbreak can be stopped'.
"We do at this moment still believe that this outbreak of monkeypox can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups but time is going by and we all need to pull together to make that happen," Rosamund Lewis, WHO Technical Lead on Monkeypox.
The outbreak was earlier marked as a global health emergency by WHO's highest level of alert, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO label - a "public health emergency of international concern" - is designed to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
"WHO is still working towards determining a global coordination mechanism. At the moment, it's something that's still in discussion," Lewis said.
How Dangerous is Monkeypox?
Monkeypox is a virus that typically causes mild symptoms including fever, aches and pus-filled skin lesions. People tend to recover within two to four weeks, according to the WHO.
Anyone can spread the virus, but the current outbreak outside of Africa is concentrated almost exclusively among men who have s*x with men.
Monkeypox spreads primarily via intimate skin-to-skin contact, usually with someone who has an active rash, as well as via contact with contaminated clothes or bedding. It is not as easily transmitted as the SARS-CoV-2 virus that spurred the COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID is spread by the respiratory route and is highly infectious. This doesn't appear to be the case with the monkeypox," said Dr. Martin Hirsch of Massachusetts General Hospital reported news agency Reuters.
The risk of monkeypox is moderate globally, except in Europe, where the WHO has deemed the risk as high.
First identified in monkeys, the virus is transmitted chiefly through close contact with an infected person. Until this year, the viral disease has rarely spread outside Africa where it is endemic. This year, there have been more than 17,000 confirmed cases of monkeypox in more than 75 countries. Five deaths, all of which occurred in Africa, have been reported.