The World Health Organization (WHO) announced that Mpox, formerly known as “monkeypox,” is no longer a global health emergency after warning about its spread a year ago. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva that it follows the recommendation of the body’s Emergency Committee. Although the Mpox and COVID-19 alerts have ended, Tedros warns that the threat of new waves remains for both. Both viruses continue to circulate and kill. In May 2022, Mpox outbreaks began to be reported in Europe and the United States, outside of the ten countries in Central and West Africa where the disease has long been endemic.
Tedros said that since the declaration of an international public health emergency on July 23, 2022, the number of infections has declined markedly. In total, more than 87,000 cases have been reported in 111 countries, and the disease has caused 140 deaths. Although the downward trend in Mpox cases globally is welcome, the virus continues to affect communities in all regions, including Africa, where transmission is still not well understood. In addition, travel-related infections also pose a risk.
Tedros emphasized that Mpox continues to present significant public health challenges that need a robust, proactive, and sustainable response, urging countries to maintain surveillance and access to diagnostic tests and vaccines. Stigma has been a driving concern in managing this epidemic and continues to hinder access to care for Mpox, but the feared backlash against the most affected communities has largely failed to materialize, Tedros said. In addition, untreated people with HIV are particularly exposed to Mpox. The disease is characterized by skin rashes that can appear on the genital organs or in the mouth and is transmitted through close contact with infected people or animals, as well as through objects contaminated by the patient, such as clothing or bedding.
Leave a Reply