Here’s why W.H.O. Declares Monkeypox Spread a Global Health Emergency


As a result of this decision, the World Health Organization has now classified the current international outbreak of monkeypox as a global emergency.

Tareco Timothy receives a monkeypox vaccination July 15 in Fire Island, N.Y. (Eduardo Munoz/Reuters)

The WHO’s designation of the outbreak as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, the highest level of alert it can issue, is anticipated to mobilize additional resources to combat the outbreak and put pressure on governments to act. 74 nations have recorded over 16,500 cases of monkeypox.

“In short, we have an outbreak that has expanded over the world swiftly through novel mechanisms of transmission that we do not understand at all,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Saturday.


Two viral infections, covid-19 and monkeypox, are now considered public health emergencies because of this judgment. Early in 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the coronavirus pandemic a global disaster.

monkeypox 2:53: What you need to know
European and international health authorities are concerned about an unexpected spike in instances of monkeypox. Meryl Kornfield and Alexa Juliana Ard/The Washington Post have videos of the event.
According to the World Health Organization, the danger of monkeypox in the rest of the world is low, but in Europe, where the majority of infections have been documented, the risk is considerable.

Because the outbreak is concentrated among men who have intercourse with men, Tedros used this as a rationale for declaring a worldwide health emergency.


Using the proper methods in the right populations, Tedros believes this spread can be halted.

“Human rights and dignity” of gay and bisexual males should be respected, according to WHO director-general Margaret Chan.

Discrimination and the spread of stigma, according to Tedros, “may be as harmful as any virus.”


“Health-seeking behavior” among gay and bisexual males and an HIV-infected culture of public health in the community can also be helpful in curbing HIV/AIDS, according to World Health Organization authorities.

The announcement of the global health agency was accompanied by suggestions to improve a coordinated global response to monkeypox aimed at increasing surveillance, speeding up research into vaccines and medicines, and strengthening infection control in hospitals.

People with symptoms of monkeypox or who have been exposed to someone afflicted are advised not to travel, according to the guidelines.


Earlier this month, the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee declined to issue an emergency declaration after convening for the second time.

According to Tedros, the committee was split on whether or not to declare the outbreak an emergency, with nine members opposing it and six in support. However, the director general made the extraordinary decision to ignore the committee’s recommendations and declare an emergency in any case.

Several factors were stated by the committee members who did not believe that an emergency declaration was required, including early evidence that the outbreak was settling.. It was also pointed out that there was little proof of transmission outside of males who have sex with men, and that a public health emergency could exacerbate discrimination against the LGBT community in nations where homosexuality is illegal.


A declaration at that time, according to several academics and public health activists, would have boosted worldwide coordination in the fight against the virus.

During the previous two months, monkeypox has spread at an unprecedented rate around the world. For many years, zoonotic virus, which produces flu-like symptoms and rashes that spread across the body, has been prevalent in Africa. However, the new outbreak has seen an increase in monkeypox illnesses in regions where the disease has not previously been reported.

Close male-to-male sexual contact is thought to be a main source of transmission in the current outbreak, according to experts. Skin-to-skin contact and the sharing of contaminated things in the home are the main ways the virus spreads. Monkeypox cases among women and children have been documented as well, but the numbers are still minor.


Rosamund Lewis, WHO Health Emergencies Program technical lead for monkeypox, said monkeypox appears to be prevalent among males who have sex with men because they attend more social gatherings and take part in events requiring intimate contact with numerous partners frequently.

There’s greater skin-to-skin touch here, Lewis remarked.

Smallpox vaccinations and therapies can be used to prevent and treat monkeypox because they are related to the more lethal virus that causes smallpox.


After a recent examination of a Danish vaccine plant by the Food and Drug Administration, it was revealed that almost 800,000 additional doses of monkeypox vaccine could be ready for distribution in the United States by the end of July.

However, some men have been hospitalized due to acute discomfort caused by sores near the genitals in the newest outbreak of monkeypox.

According to data compiled by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Spain has the most confirmed cases of the disease, with more than 3,100 cases. Nearly 2,900 instances have been reported in the United States, trailing only Germany’s 2,200 cases and the United Kingdom’s 2,200.


Monkeypox has already infected two youngsters in the United States, according to official reports released on Friday. According to the CDC, this week’s pediatric cases, which included an infant and a toddler, were most likely spread within the home.

According to a statement released by the CDC on Saturday, “the international community can be galvanized to respond to and combat this virus more rapidly and effectively” because of the WHO’s emergency declaration.

U.S. response to the WHO’s decision is unlikely to be affected. Pressure to designate monkeypox a public health emergency could result in additional financing and greater reporting requirements from states and local governments.


Experts say the U.S.’s monkeypox blunders parallel the country’s early coronavirus reaction.

Interviewed on Washington Post Live on Friday, director Rochelle Walensky said inconsistent data hampers CDC research into racial and ethnic disparities, sexual orientations, and immunization rates in the United States.

When it comes to receiving data from outside sources such as Covid, Walensky says, “we are once again greatly hindered by the fact that we as the agency have no jurisdiction to do so.”


The WHO’s decision to declare monkeypox a global emergency was praised by public health campaigners.

According to Wellcome’s head of epidemics and epidemiology, Josie Golding, the global health organization now faces a dual challenge: an endemic disease in Africa that has been ignored for decades, as well as an unique outbreak affecting marginalized groups. It’s time for governments throughout the world to take this outbreak more seriously and act together to get it under control.”


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