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The World Health Organization has declared monkeypox an international health emergency

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World Health Organization (WHO) I have announced The spread of monkeypox is an international health emergency, that is, the most serious definition of a health threat among those users. Monkeypox is a disease caused by a virus belonging to the same family as smallpox: at the moment, about 16,000 cases have been identified in 75 countries around the world. According to the World Health Organization, there are five deaths attributable to the current wave.

The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced the decision to consider the spread of an international health emergency even though the special expert committee set up by the World Health Organization gave no indication in this regard; Neither in June, when they first met, nor in the last days. In stimulating his decision, Ghebreyesus He explained To make this decision because monkeypox is “spreading all over the world by routes of transmission of which we know little”. Speaking to reporters, Ghebreyesus criticized the current model in which the World Health Organization handles cases of this kind, arguing that it should become “more efficient”.

The World Health Organization declares a Public Health Emergency of International Concern when faced with an “extraordinary event that may pose a public health risk in other countries”. The organization has declared this type of emergency six more times: in 2009 with the H1N1 influenza pandemic, in May 2014 for polio, in 2014 and 2019 for Ebola, in 2016 for the Zika virus and in 2020 for the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

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Monkeypox is an infectious disease caused by MPXV (monkeypox virus) and should not be confused with the more serious smallpox, a disease declared eradicated by the World Health Organization in 1979 after a massive vaccination campaign in the late 1950s and late 1970s. .

Listen also: “It Takes Science” episode about monkeypox

In general, monkeypox is common in non-human primates (as the name implies) and in some species of small rodents, especially in Africa. The infection is transmitted from these animals to humans through saliva and other fluids, or through direct contact. An infected person can in some circumstances infect another person, for example through droplets of saliva, contact with wounds or infected biological fluids, but the methods of human-to-human transmission are not yet fully understood and experts consider them rare.

Within a few days, people infected with the virus develop symptoms typical of a viral infection such as fever, muscle aches, headache, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. The disease then causes blisters and blisters on the face and later on the hands and feet, which can be very itchy and crusty. Monkeypox has a positive course in most cases. Symptoms subside and disappear within two weeks without the need for special treatments.

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