The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this Saturday Epidemic of monkey disease A global public health emergency follows a global surge in infections. At this point, more than 16,000 cases have been reported in 75 countries. A total of 588 virus infections have been confirmed in Portugal, 73 of which were reported in the past week.
“We have an outbreak that is spreading rapidly around the world, of which we know very little and which meets the criteria of international health regulations,” the WHO director-general told a press conference after the meeting of the health committee. rush
With this in mind, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared, “Global explosion Monkey disease represents a public health emergency of international concern”, setting out recommendations for the four country groups.
The first of these groups includes countries with no cases of monkey flu or no outbreaks for more than 21 days. The second covers countries with recent importation cases and human-to-human transmission. The third group consists of people who transmit the virus between animals and humans. Finally, the fourth involves countries with the capacity to produce tests, vaccines and treatments, Gebreus said.
The WHO Director-General said that this classification of global emergency will help speed up the development of vaccines and implement measures to control the spread of the virus. “This is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups,” he said.
A Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) is basically the most important warning WHO can give to the world. The rules of this process state that in order to declare a PHEIC, the situation under analysis must meet three criteria: it must be an unusual event, represent a high risk to the public health of other countries and require a coordinated international response. This is the sixth time WHO has used this global alert tool.
The classification of the monkeypox outbreak as a global public health emergency came at the end of the third emergency committee meeting on the matter this Saturday.
World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Committee Monkey disease They also met on Wednesday to assess whether the outbreak met the criteria to be declared a public health emergency of international concern, but a consensus could not be reached.
“I have convened this emergency committee on the outbreak because I need your advice to assess the immediate and long-term implications for public health of the evolution of this phenomenon,” the WHO director-general said at the start of the meeting of various experts. Regions and Countries.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed concern over the rising number of infections. Some countries are already reporting an apparent decline in cases, while others are now seeing an increase in infections, with six reporting their first cases in the past week.
“I am fully aware that any decision I make regarding the possible determination of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) takes into account many factors with the ultimate aim of protecting public health,” he stressed. .
It’s “not an easy or simple process and there are differing opinions among members,” Gebreus said, adding that currently, the outbreak is mainly focused on “men who have sex with men, especially with multiple people.” sexual partners.” However, the WHO official warned, “stigma and discrimination are as dangerous as any virus.”
The second meeting of the committee to review the evolution is on Wednesday Monkey diseaseAfter the first meeting at the end of June, when about 3000 cases were reported in 47 countries, experts considered that the disease did not represent PHEIC.
Portugal has already taken the necessary steps
In Portugal, as of Wednesday, 588 cases of the virus have been confirmed. Monkey disease73 announced last week, the Directorate of Health (DGS) indicated that vaccination of close contacts has already begun.
According to the DGS weekly report published on Wednesday, all regions of Portugal and Madeira have recorded cases of human infection with the VMPX virus, but most of the total cases (80.3%) have been confirmed in Lisbon and the Tagus Valley.
According to weekly data, the highest number of cases (55) was reported in the Northern Province, followed by the Center (eight), Alentejo (five), Algarve (four) and Madeira (three). Health.
According to the DGS, an infected person is not contagious until after complete recovery and the crusting of the skin lesions, which may ultimately take more than four weeks. Common symptoms of the disease include fever, severe headache, muscle aches, back pain, fatigue, and progressive appearance of rashes affecting the skin and mucous membranes.
According to the DGS, Portugal has already adopted basic measures to respond to monkeypox. “This does not mean more than what is being done. All measures have been taken and, despite the absence of this announcement, a public health emergency was decided by the WHO this Saturday,” said a spokesman for the DGS.
According to Margarida Tavares, “basic measures are already in place” at the national level to respond to the outbreak that emerged on May 3. The director of the National Program on Sexually Transmitted Infections and HIV Infection at DGS also highlighted: “What we saw was a stable weekly number and even a slightly declining trend.”
News updated at 19:06: Reports from DGS added.