World Health Network declares Monkeypox a pandemic
Cambridge, Jun 23: The World Health Network (WHN), a coalition of scientists formed against the Covid-19 threat, has declared the Monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of Global Concern.
With 3,417 confirmed Monkeypox cases across 58 countries, the WHN noted that the outbreak will not stop without concerted global action. "Even with death rates much lower than smallpox, unless actions are taken to stop the ongoing spread-actions that can be practically implemented-millions of people will die and many more will become blind and disabled, it said in a statement.
According to the WHN, the essential purpose of declaring a pandemic is to achieve a concerted effort across multiple countries or over the world to prevent widespread harm. "There is no justification to wait for the Monkeypox pandemic to grow further. The best time to act is now. By taking immediate action, we can control the outbreak with the least effort, and prevent consequences from becoming worse. The actions needed now only require clear public communication about symptoms, widely available testing, and contact tracing with very few quarantines. Any delay only makes the effort harder and the consequences more severe", said Yaneer Bar-Yam, PhD, President of New England Complex System Institute and co-founder of WHN.
Although most cases have been in adults, any spread among children will lead to much more severe cases and more deaths, the WHN said. Infections of animals, especially rats and other rodents, but also pets, will make it much more difficult to stop. Passively waiting will lead to these harms without any compensating benefit, the statement added.
"The WHO needs to urgently declare its own Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)-the lessons of not declaring a PHEIC immediately in early January 2020 should be remembered as a history lesson of what acting late on an epidemic can mean for the world," said Eric Feigl-Ding, PhD, Epidemiologist and Health Economist, and co-founder of WHN.
The WHN said actions are needed to prevent widespread public communication about the symptoms that identify Monkeypox.