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Global Health Network declares Monkeypox a pandemic

With 3,417 confirmed cases of monkeypox reported in 58 countries, the Global Health Network (WHN) has announced that it is declaring the current outbreak of monkeypox a pandemic.

The outbreak is spreading rapidly across multiple continents and will not stop without concerted global action, he said in a statement.

WHN’s announcement comes ahead of the WHO meeting to be held on June 23 to decide on their monkeypox outbreak designation.

The epidemic will not end without concerted global action, he said.

Even with death rates far below those of smallpox, unless action is taken to stop the ongoing spread – actions that can be practically implemented – millions of people will die and many more will become blind and disabled, he said.

WHN said the essential purpose of declaring Monkeypox a pandemic is to achieve a concerted effort in multiple countries or globally to prevent widespread harm.

“There is no reason to wait for the monkeypox pandemic to develop further. The best time to act is now. By taking immediate action, we can control the epidemic with the least effort and prevent the consequences from getting worse. Necessary actions now only require clear public communication about symptoms, widely available testing and contact tracing with very few in quarantine. Any delay only makes the effort more difficult and the consequences more severe,” said Yaneer Bar-Yam, PhD, president of the New England Complex System Institute and co-founder of WHN.

“WHO must urgently declare its own Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) – the lessons of not declaring a USPEI immediately in early January 2020 should be remembered as a history lesson of what to do late on an epidemic can mean for the world,” said Eric Feigl-Ding, PhD, epidemiologist and health economist, and co-founder of WHN.

“The first 18 months of the Covid pandemic have shown us that stopping the virus is a cost-effective strategy that aligns health and economic outcomes. Monkeypox is much easier to stop. This will provide a level of visibility allowing companies to project their societies and their economies into the future,” said Cécile Phillips, economist and president of the Molinari Economic Institute.

Read also : Is monkeypox transmitted through sex or just close contact? WHO issues advisory for gay and bisexual communities

The WHN urges the WHO and national CDC organizations to act immediately, he said.

“Early action will have a bigger impact with smaller interventions. If effective action is taken now, larger and more disruptive interventions will not be needed. Health authorities and governments should learn from past mistakes by delaying the answer,” he said.

Monkeypox and smallpox belong to the same family of viruses, called Orthopoxvirus. Monkeypox is a viral infection that originated in rodents and primates and transmitted to humans. It was found in Africa, mainly around tropical rainforest regions, but has now spread across the world, especially in western countries. According to the WHO, monkeypox usually presents clinically with fever, rash and swollen lymph nodes and can lead to a range of medical complications. Monkeypox is usually a self-limiting disease with symptoms lasting 2-4 weeks.

Evidence supports many different routes of monkeypox transmission, including physical contact (touching an infected person, especially the rash/postules), contact with contaminated clothing, bedding and objects, breathing from airborne particles and intimate contact/sex.

While the majority of the first cases identified are mainly those who identify as gay, bisexual or men who have sex with men. As a result, the United Nations health agency also recently issued an important public health advisory for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

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