The WHO have refused to declare an emergency, despite Health authorities in Africa say they are treating the expanding monkeypox outbreak there as an
emergency, and are calling on rich countries to share the world’s limited supply of vaccines in an effort to avoid the glaring equity problems seen during the Covid-19 pandemic.
In a move, that mirrors that of the COVID-19 situation in China, the WHO says that the situation does not warrant being called a global health emergency despite the huge rise in cases across the globe
According to breakingnews.ie, globally, more than 5,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported in 51 countries, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
The majority of those cases are in Europe. No deaths beyond Africa have been reported.
Within Africa, WHO said monkeypox has spread to countries where it has not previously been seen, including South Africa, Ghana and Morocco. But more than 90% of the continent’s infections are in Congo and Nigeria, according to WHO’s Africa director, Dr Moeti Matshidiso.
She said that given the limited global supplies of vaccines to fight monkeypox, WHO was in talks with manufacturers and countries with stockpiles to see if they might be shared.
The vaccines have mainly been developed to stop smallpox, a related disease, and most are not authorised for use against monkeypox in Africa. Vaccines have not previously been used to try to stamp out monkeypox epidemics in Africa, officials have relied mostly on measures like contact tracing and isolation.
“We would like to see the global spotlight on monkeypox act as a catalyst to beat this disease once and for all in Africa,” she said on Thursday.
Among monkeypox cases in Britain, which has the biggest outbreak beyond Africa, the vast majority of cases are in men and officials have noted it is spreading only within “defined sexual networks of gay, bisexual, or men who have sex with men”. Scientists warn that anyone is at risk of catching monkeypox if they come into close, physical contact with an infected patient or their clothing or bedsheets.
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