Monkeypox outbreak can be stopped with right strategies: What WHO chief said

Published on Jul 23, 2022 10:11 PM IST

Monkeypox cases have been reported from over 70 countries and territories and the WHO has warned of a risk of “further spread”. 

FILE - The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a media conference at an EU Africa summit in Brussels on Feb. 18, 2022.(AP)
FILE - The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a media conference at an EU Africa summit in Brussels on Feb. 18, 2022.(AP)

The monkeypox outbreak seems to have been largely concentrated “among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners,” WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Saturday as the world health body declared a global health emergency with the virus spreading fast across nations. At the same time, however, the WHO chief warned against discrimination. “Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” he underlined.

With global cooperation and available tools, he further suggested, the transmission of the monkeypox virus could be brought under control. “Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners. That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups,” Dr Ghebreyesus underlined.

“It’s therefore essential that all countries work closely with communities of men who have sex with men, to design and deliver effective information and services, and to adopt measures that protect the health, human rights and dignity of affected communities.”

He also segmented countries in four categories for a strategic approach. The first group has those countries that have not yet reported any case so far or no case for at least three weeks.

In the second group are the countries with recently imported cases of monkeypox and that are experiencing human-to-human transmission. “The third group of countries is those with transmission of monkeypox between animals and humans. And the fourth is countries with manufacturing capacity for diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics,” Dr Ghebreyesus highlighted during his latest briefing.

Worldwide, more than 16,000 cases have been reported so far this year from 75 nations and territories. The virus was once upon a time largely confined to Africa.

Even as it is spreading fast, only five deaths have reported so far this year, says the WHO.

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