Monkeypox Not a Global Emergency Yet, WHO Says
Monkeypox Not a Global Emergency Yet, WHO Says

Monkeypox Not a Global Emergency Yet, WHO Says

June 27, 2022 – The World Health Organization said Saturday that the growing monkeypox outbreak in 50 countries should be watched closely but doesn’t yet warrant being declared a global public health emergency.

An emergency committee of the WHO said much about the outbreak was “unusual” and noted that monkeypox has been neglected for years in the African countries where it remains endemic.

“While a few members expressed differing views, the committee resolved by consensus to advise the WHO director-general that at this stage the outbreak should be determined to not constitute” a global emergency, the WHO said in a statement.

More than 3,200 worldwide cases have been reported to the WHO since the beginning of May. The U.S. has detected 201 cases, according to the latest CDC data, with 51 in California, 35 in New York, and 26 in Illinois.

The virus is spreading in many countries that haven’t previously reported monkeypox cases, with 80% among countries in the WHO’s European region. Most of the confirmed cases are among men, particularly among gay, bise, and other men who have sex with men. Most cases have been in urban areas and in clustered social and sexual networks, the committee said.

The signs of the disease haven’t been typical, the committee said, with few lesions in genital, anal, or oral areas that don’t spread further, as well as a rash that appears before other symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. There have been a few hospitalizations and one death in an immunocompromised person.SLIDESHOW

A Visual Guide to Viral Rashes

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baby with chickenpox
/ 15ChickenpoxEveryone knows about this viral rash. Or they used to. A new vaccine means few kids get chickenpox anymore. You might have a fever or sore throat before the telltale itchy spots break out all over your body. It’s very contagious, so it’s best to stay home until all the sores crust over. Never give aspirin to a child with chickenpox. It can cause Reye’s syndrome, which is rare but serious.  
shingles rash close up
/ 15ShinglesOnce you’ve had chickenpox, the virus lives on inside your body. Later it may come back as shingles, a painful, blistering rash. It’s more likely as you get older. The virus is embedded in the blisters. Contact with the virus can’t give you shingles directly, but it could give you chickenpox if you’ve never had it. A shingles vaccine might help prevent an outbreak.
molluscum contagiosum
/ 15Molluscum ContagiosumLook for about 15 pinkish-red bumps with a dimple in the middle and white gunk inside. Scratch them and you may spread the virus to other places on your body. You also could get it from someone’s skin. Wrestlers and gymnasts pick it up from used gym towels and sweaty mats. It may go away on its own, or your doctor might suggest creams, antiviral drugs, laser removal, or “freezing” the bumps to get rid of them.
fifth disease childs cheeks
/ 15Fifth DiseaseAlso called erythema infectiosum, it’s more common in kids. You get a splotchy red rash on the face that looks like a slapped cheek. You also might have a fever and body aches. A web-like rash could sprout on your arms, legs, and body parts that gets worse in the sun. You can catch it from droplets in the breath of an infected person. It usually goes away on its own in 5-10 days, but the rash could come back for a few weeks afterward.
cold sore on upper lip
/ 15Cold SoresYou might not like the look of these itchy, painful sores on your mouth and lips. They come from a virus (HSV-1) that most people get as children from the spit of an infected person. The sores usually get better on their own, but your doctor may suggest antiviral pills or creams to help speed the healing. The virus stays in your body and could cause outbreaks when you are sick, anxious, or overtired.
genital herpes
/ 15Genital HerpesYou can get it from sexual intercourse or from oral sex. Your genitals might tingle, itch, or burn before painful, blistering sores develop. These last 7-10 days before they crust over. The virus stays in your body even when you have no symptoms. Your doctor can prescribe drugs to limit or control outbreaks. Use a condom to lessen the chance you’ll get or pass on the virus.
hand foot and mouth disease
/ 15Hand-Foot-and-Mouth DiseaseLike the name says, you get a painful but not itchy rash on the bottom of your hands and feet and on the buttocks that may blister. You may have sores inside your mouth. Kids under age 10 get it most, often from an infected person’s pee, poop, snot, or spit. After that, most people build resistance. It usually clears on its own in 7-10 days.
rubella rash on chest
/ 15RubellaIf you’re not up to date on your vaccinations, this virus could cause a fine, pink rash that starts on your face and spreads to your body, arms, and legs. It disappears in the same order. You may also feel a bit sick and have a headache. You can get it from an infected person when they cough or sneeze near you.
kopliks spots
/ 15MeaslesVaccines make this a rare disease in the U.S. But measles still kills more than 100,000 people worldwide, most under the age of 5. You might have a dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, and fever. Splotches of flat rashes flow into each other. One telltale sign is tiny white spots with bluish-white centers inside your mouth or cheek called Koplik’s spots. Call your doctor right away if you think someone has measles.
baby with roseola rash
10 / 15Roseola (Sixth Disease)It usually infects kids between 6 months and 2 years old. It often starts with several days of sore throat, runny nose or cough, and a high fever. A rash of reddish flat or raised spots often follows. It starts on the trunk and spreads all over. The spots turn white when you touch them and could have little circles or “halos.” Call your doctor if the fever is over 103 F or the rash doesn’t improve in 3 days.
colorado tick fever rash
11 / 15Colorado Tick FeverYou can pick up this rare disease from bites from the Rocky Mountain wood tick. This eight-legged creature lives in the western U.S. in higher altitudes and picks up the virus as it feeds on squirrels, chipmunks, and mice. You’ll likely feel tired and achy with fever and chills. You could also have a headache, belly pain, vomiting, and a skin rash. There’s no pill for it, but in serious cases you may need hospital care to get better.
hiv rash
12 / 15HIV RashHIV is a viral infection spread through sex or IV drug use. It can cause a rash that’s flat and red with tiny bumps. In some cases, the skin might be very sensitive to sunlight or chemicals like cleaning agents. If you have HIV, you might also be more likely to get other conditions that cause rashes, like genital herpes, cold sores, Kaposi’s sarcoma lesions, and molluscum.
acrodermatitis on childs leg
13 / 15Acrodermatitis (Gianotti-Crosti Syndrome)Kids between 9 months and 9 years often get this bumpy rash. It breaks out on the arms, legs, and bottom, sometimes with blisters. Viral infections like hepatitis B, Epstein-Barr, or cytomegalovirus can cause it. Other symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, and fever. The rash lasts from 10 days to several weeks. It usually goes away on its own, but your doctor might suggest using a steroid cream.
throat rash mononucleosis
14 / 15MononucleosisMono, aka the “kissing disease,” spreads through saliva. You also can catch the virus from a sneeze or cough or shared food. Teenagers get it most often. If your rash comes with a fever, sore throat, or swollen lymph nodes in your neck or armpits, it could be a sign of “mono” or some other viral infection. You treat it with plenty of rest, fluids, and over-the-counter pain meds. Talk to your doctor about unusual symptoms.
zika rash on neck
15 / 15ZikaMost people who get it have no symptoms. But you could have a fever, headache, joint and muscle pain, and a rash on your body and around your eyes. You get it from the bite of an aedes mosquito, found all over the world, or from an infected person’s blood or semen or other sexual fluids. There’s no specific treatment, but rest, fluids, and over-the-counter drugs can help ease your symptoms.

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on 9/7/2020

Despite not rising to a “global emergency,” the WHO committee acknowledged the “emergency nature” of the outbreak and said controlling the spread requires “intense response efforts.” The committee said the outbreak should be “closely monitored and reviewed after a few weeks” but could recommend a reassessment within 21 days if cases spread more quickly, become more severe, or move into other groups such as sex workers, people living with HIV, immunocompromised people, pregnant women, or children.

“I am deeply concerned by the spread of monkeypox,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, PhD, the WHO director-general, said in a separate statement alongside the committee’s recommendations.

Tedros called the emergency committee meeting last week due to concerns that cases were growing in many countries that hadn’t previously reported the disease. On Saturday, he said he agreed with the committee’s assessment but said that having the committee get together in the first place “reflects the increasing concern” about the international spread of the virus.

“What makes the current outbreak especially concerning is the rapid, continuing spread into new countries and regions, and the risk of further, sustained transmission into vulnerable populations, including people that are immunocompromised, pregnant women and children,” he said.

Tedros recommended that countries be more willing to look for and diagnose monkeypox, and that they use more community-wide communication, public health measures such as contact tracing and isolation, and therapeutics and vaccines where needed.

“It requires our collective attention and coordinated action now to stop the further spread of monkeypox virus,” he said.

By WHO definition, declaring a global public health emergency would indicate an “extraordinary event” with a high risk of spilling across borders that requires a globally managed response, The Associated Press reported. The WHO has previously made global emergency declarations for the COVID-19 pandemicEbola in Congo and West Africa, the Zika virus in Brazil, and ongoing worldwide polio efforts.

Scientists have warned that anyone in close physical contact with someone infected with the monkeypox virus is at risk of getting the disease, the AP reported. In countries where the virus is endemic, people get infected after handling wild animals such as rodents or primates. So far this year, about 1,500 cases and 70 deaths have been reported in Congo, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic.

Researchers haven’t found any mutations in the monkeypox virus that suggest it’s become more transmissible or lethal, according to the AP, although the number of changes in the virus show that it has likely been spreading undetected for years.

The WHO is now creating a way to share monkeypox vaccines, which could send shots to countries like Britain, which has the largest outbreak outside of Africa, the AP said.

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