Monkey pox: what is the maximum alert level decreed by the WHO?

The growing epidemic of monkeypox continues to worry the authorities. This Saturday, July 23, theWorld Health Organization (WHO) has triggered its highest level of alert in order to fight against the virus. (source 1)

“In short, we are in the presence of an epidemic which has spread rapidly throughout the world by new modes of transmission of which we know only too little and which meets the criteria of international health regulations”WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference.

“For all these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox epidemic represents a global health emergency of international concern.”

What is the global health emergency?

According to the WHO, a global health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) is “an extraordinary event that is determined to pose a risk to public health in other states due to the international risk of the spread of disease and that ‘it may require coordinated international action’. (source 2)

This rare designation implies that the situation is serious, has global public health implications and may require immediate international action.

Since 2009, the WHO has used this device seven times. The first was in 2009 during the influenza A (H1N1) pandemic. Before monkeypox, the last occurrence was in 2019 with the coronavirus.

More than 16,000 cases

Monkeypox is now also a global health emergency. Since the beginning of the year, more than 16,000 cases have been reported in 74 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s dashboard. (source 3)

Public Health France identifies 1,453 cases to date. No deaths have been reported. (source 4)

The monkeypox virus is transmitted mainly through direct contact with lesions on the skin or mucous membranes of a sick person, as well as by droplets. Symptoms can be painful, with itching, rash, and swollen lymph nodes for several days.

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