The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the end of the global public health emergency for COVID-19 a few days ago, and now it is the turn of the viruela del mono or Monkeypoxso this Thursday the WHO has reported that the international health emergency due to monkeypox has ended. “However, as with COVID-19, that does not mean the job is done. The mpox continues to pose important public health challenges that need a robust, proactive and sustainable response,” warned Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesusdirector of this organization.
The director has made this decision based on the recommendation of a committee of experts, and has explained that in the In the last three months, almost 90% fewer cases have been reported than in the previous three months. This reduction, according to Tedros, has been possible thanks to global mobilization and the rapid response of most countries, as well as the work of pharmaceutical companies and regulatory agencies, “which played an important role in helping to expand access to prevention and treatment medicines to counter the disease.
In a press conference, the director general of the WHO also praised the actions of community organizations and health services for alerting the groups most vulnerable to infection, such as the LGBTI community, of the risks. “We must applaud the work of public health authorities and community organizations. They reacted quickly and widely to inform people at risk, encourage and support behavior change, and advocate for access to tests, vaccines, and treatment,” he added.
More than 87,000 monkeypox cases and 140 deaths in 111 countries
The mpox is a viral zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted from animals to humans, although it can also spread from person to person. It was known as monkeypox because it was first detected in 1958 in several apes in a laboratory, however, most animals susceptible to contracting the infection and spreading it to people are rodents.
A year ago, cases of mpox began to be detected in Europe and America, and the World Health Organization decided to declare an international public health emergency in July 2022. Since then, this organization has registered more than 87,000 cases and 140 deaths, in 111 countries.
“The danger of continued transmission remains significant in outbreak settings, particularly where the modes of transmission are not yet well understood.”
Although Tedros has highlighted that progress has been made in the control of the outbreak, he has pointed out that the stigma associated with the disease “has been and continues to be an obstacle to obtaining the necessary care to prevent or treat mpox.” On the other hand, he has warned that despite the global downward trend, the virus continues to be transmitted in some communities, countries and regions, such as the Western Pacific, and that there are travel-related cases. “The danger of continued transmission remains significant in outbreak settings, particularly where the modes of transmission are not yet well understood,” he said.
Do not neglect surveillance to prevent and control new outbreaks
Tedros has stressed that the decline in monkeypox infection does not mean that countries should relax surveillance or restrict the use of monkeypox. access to tests and vaccines, as is happening in some. “It remains important that countries maintain their capacities and continue their efforts, assess their risk, quantify their needs to respond and act promptly when necessary,” he insisted.
To this end, it has recommended that the mpox prevention and care be integrated into national health programs to facilitate rapid care in the event of future outbreaks. He also recalled that people with HIV who do not receive treatment are at greater risk of contracting the mpox virus.
And, finally, it has confirmed WHO’s commitment to work with all governments to support population access to prevention and treatment measures as more information becomes available on their effectiveness.