WHO decides whether monkeypox requires maximum alert level
Most cases are detected in men between 18 and 50 years old
THE World Health Organization (WHO) This Thursday (21) the committee of experts on monkeypox convenes to determine whether the current increase in cases is a public health emergency of international scope, its highest alert level.
This emergency committee will assess the epidemiological indices, after in recent weeks more than 15,300 cases were reported in 70 countries, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US public health agency.
“Regardless of the committee’s recommendation, the WHO will continue to do everything possible to contain monkeypox and save lives,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the UN agency, told a news conference on Wednesday.
At the first meeting, on June 23, most experts recommended that Tedros not pronounce the public health emergency of international scope.
Since the beginning of May, an unusual increase in cases has been detected outside Central and West African countries, where the virus is endemic, spreading throughout the world and with a large number of cases in Europe.
First discovered in humans in 1970, monkeypox is less dangerous and contagious than smallpox, which was eradicated in 1980.
Most cases are detected in men between the ages of 18 and 50.
As of July 14, the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (CEDC) has recorded 7,896 monkeypox virus infections. Spain is the most affected country, with 2,835 cases, followed by Germany (1,924), France (912), the Netherlands (656) and Portugal (515).
The health agency works in parallel with member states and experts to advance research and development around the virus.
“While we see a downward trend in some countries, others are experiencing an increase and 6 countries reported their first cases last week,” Tedros said.
“Some countries have less access to diagnostics and vaccines, which makes it difficult to record and stop cases” when vaccine stocks are low, he added.
The Danish company Bavarian Nordic, the only laboratory producing an authorized monkeypox vaccine, said on Tuesday it had received an order for 1.5 million doses, most to be delivered by 2023, from a European country whose name not disclosed and the United States ordered 2.5 million doses.