The current monkeypox pandemic has been classified as a worldwide health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO).
The choice of whether to declare the spreading monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), the highest degree of alert, was debated by the committee of independent advisers during their meeting on Thursday, July 21, 2022.
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Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director of the WHO, ended the impasse by designating the epidemic as a PHEIC. The WHO director general has never before bypassed his advisors to issue a public health emergency declaration.
In 1970, a youngster in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) was diagnosed with the first case of monkeypox. Since then, outbreaks have typically been minor and can be linked to a traveler who just got back from a nation where the virus is endemic, i.e., west and central Africa. But the ongoing person-to-person transmission of the infection makes the present outbreak distinct from any others that have occurred outside of Africa.
In 68 nations that have never before reported monkeypox, 16,593 illnesses had been confirmed as of July 22. The majority of illnesses have been discovered in Europe. Guys who have sex with other males, particularly men who have sex with several partners, have contracted infections in the vast majority of cases.
The average number of persons infected by a single infected person, or the “R nought” (remember this from the early days of the COVID pandemic?) is between 1.4 and 1.8 in men who have intercourse with men, but less than 1.0 in other populations, according to models given to the WHO. Therefore, further significant expansion is unlikely, even though rare illnesses can spread to populations other than males who have sex with men.
The weekly surge in new cases of monkeypox in Europe has slowed down in recent weeks. Males who have intercourse with other men continue to contract infections in a great percentage of cases.
Although sex with other males accounts for 97% of cases in the UK, it appears that the epidemic’s pace of growth has recently decreased to zero or perhaps turned negative. It’s possible, though, that the apparent decline in new infections is simply the time between successive waves.
Recent debate among experts has focused on whether monkeypox is now considered a sexually transmitted illness. Despite the fact that monkeypox is clearly shared during sex, it would be pointless to classify it as an STD because the infection can spread through any close contact, even while using condoms or without engaging in penetrative sex.