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Home / News / World /  Monkeypox proves elusive foe as WHO declares global health emergency
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An outbreak of Covid-19 disease has pushed the government across the world to revamp their investment in drugs, medicines, vaccines and establish viral surveillance systems to control the pandemic situations. Now, the rise in monkeypox cases is putting this upgradation of medical infrastructure to a test---and they are falling short.

Monkeypox has infected about 16,000 people in over 70 countries in just a few months. According to infectious disease experts as quoted by Bloomberg, getting out in front of this virus is an achievable goal. However, the lack of coordination in treatment in parts of the world has prompted WHO to sound the alarm.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General on Saturday declared the outbreak of monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern. “This outbreak can be stopped with the help of right strategies in the right groups," Tedros stated. He also suggested that the scientists should focus on the basic detective work of decoding the reason behind rapid increase in monkeypox cases and why it has spread so quickly.

Monkeypox disease, which has been around for decades, was first reported in human beings in West Africa in 1970. It has been contained largely to two countries in Africa since then.

According to an early research, the current version of monekypox is spreading through a direct contact with rashes or the bodily fluids of the infected patient. It has ability to mutate if the virus continues to circulate, and the current version has amassed almost 50 mutations in the past years so far, it added.

Lawrence Gostin, director of the WHO’s Centre on Global Health Law and a public health professor at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said that people would have assumed that they have learned the lessons from the outbreak of Covid-19 with monkeypox, but its exact opposite.

The WHO is recommending the countries without monkeypox cases to increase the surveillance, train health workers and bring awareness about its transmission among the people.

“It is to be hoped that the increased attention to this disease leads to more focus on control within Africa, the natural home of this virus, where the number of cases has been increasing for the past 20 years," said Jimmy Whitworth, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Mike Ryan, WHO emergencies program director said, “What we’re actually seeing at the moment is a little bit like the drunk man looking for his keys under the lamppost. We’re looking where the light is, but we’re not looking in the dark."


(With Bloomberg inputs)

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