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The world is ‘losing the window’ to contain monkeypox, experts warn

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It may soon be too late to end the global monkeypox epidemic.

“We are losing the window to be able to contain this outbreak,” Boghuma Titanji, an infectious diseases doctor and virologist at Emory University in Atlanta said July 21 during a seminar sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs mesin destilasi mini.

On July 23, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director of the World Health Organization declared the global outbreak of monkeypox is a public health emergency of international concern, the organization’s highest state of alert. The WHO committee evaluating the matter was split on whether the outbreak constitutes an international emergency, but Ghebreyesus decided that enough conditions were met to warrant the designation.

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Monkeypox has infected more than 15,700 people since the beginning of May, according to Global.health (SN: 5/26/22). More than 2,800 cases have been reported in the United States as of July 22, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report.

“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners,” Ghebreyesus said in a statement. “That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups.”

Monkeypox has caused outbreaks for decades in some parts of Africa, Anne Rimoin, an epidemiologist at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, said at the Harvard seminar. But the virus “has been neglected by the global health community.” Monkeypox “has been giving us warning signals” for years in Congo, Nigeria and other parts of West Africa, but has only gotten attention once it recently started causing cases outside of the continent, Rimoin said.

There has been no concerted global effort to contain the virus, which is related to smallpox, Titanji said. Each country has been left to set its own policies.

That has led to disparities. Well-resourced countries have had at least some access to testing, vaccines and medications, which may help limit the spread of the virus or the severity of the disease. Resource-poor nations often lack that access, leaving them with limited ability to track or control the virus. Continued spread of monkeypox in resource-poor countries could leave places that do manage to contain an initial outbreak vulnerable to reintroductions, Jay K. Varma, director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response in New York City, said in the seminar. The WHO emergency declaration may lead to a more concerted international effort that could make more resources available to contain the spread of the virus.

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