The World Health Organization (WHO) has stated that it has erased the difference between endemic and non-endemic nations from its monkeypox statistics in order to provide a more united approach to the virus. The illness was discovered on other continents after previously being exclusive to western and central African countries.
“We are removing the distinction between endemic and non-endemic countries, reporting on countries together where possible, to reflect the unified response that is needed,” the WHO said in its outbreak situation update dated June 17 but sent to media on Saturday.
It went on to say that between January 1 and June 15, the United Nations (UN) health department confirmed at least 2,103 monkeypox cases, including one fatality and one probable case in 42 nations. The elimination of the difference between endemic and non-endemic states comes only days before the Geneva-based agency’s emergency meeting on June 23. The WHO will meet on Thursday to decide whether the global monkeypox epidemic should be declared a public health emergency of international concern.
While the designation of the outbreak as a public health emergency of international concern is the highest alarm the UN agency can sound for the world, 84% of the monkeypox is notably found only in the European region. Other nations where the disease has been confirmed by health authorities include the Americas, Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean region and Western Pacific region. However, WHO has said that it believes the actual number of infections is likely higher.
84% monkeypox cases in European region
While the UN agency’s classification of the epidemic as a public health emergency of worldwide concern is the highest level of warning the globe may get, 84 percent of the monkeypox is discovered solely in Europe. The illness has also been verified by health officials in the Americas, Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean area, and the Western Pacific region. However, the WHO considers that the real number of illnesses is likely to be greater.
However, if monkeypox is deemed a worldwide health emergency, it will have the “same classification” as the COVID-19 pandemic, according to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. He also mentioned that gathering specialists outside of the health department might aid in better knowledge of the monkeypox virus.
“With the advice from the emergency committee, we can be in a better position to control the situation. But it doesn’t mean that we are going straight to a public health emergency of international concern,” said Dr Ibrahima Soce Fall, WHO’s emergencies director for Africa, referring to WHO’s highest level of alert for viral outbreaks.
“We don’t want to wait until the situation is out of control to start calling the emergency committee,” he added.
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