Monkeypox is an illness caused by the monkeypox virus. It is a viral zoonotic infection, meaning that it can spread from animals to humans. It can also spread from person to person.
The World Health Organisation has declared the global Monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC), one step below that of a pandemic.
World Health Organisation
Founded in 1948, it is the UN agency responsible for global public health. It has 194 member states.
It is based in Geneva, Switzerland
It aims to promote health, keep the world safe and serve the vulnerable.
It is involved in vaccination campaigns, health emergencies and supporting countries in primary care.
It is founded by combination of members’ fees based on wealth and population and voluntary contributions.
India become a party to the WHO constitution in January 1948.
India is a member state of South East Asia Region at WHO.
The first regional director for South East Asia was an Indian, Dr Chandra Mani, who served between 1948-1968.
Currently, the post has again been occupied by an Indian appointee, Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh, who has been in office since 2014.
Dr Soumya Swaminathan has been serving as WHO’s chief scientist 2019.
What does declaration as a PHEIC mean?
A PHEIC is declared for an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease.
The PHEIC label by WHO is designed to trigger a coordinated international response and could unlock funding to collaborate on sharing vaccines and treatments.
Monkeypox is a rare zoonotic viral disease belonging to the Orthopoxviral genus is the Pox iridate family, the same virus family as smallpox. Zoonotic diseases are those diseases that spread from animals to humans.
Monkeypox was first discovered in animals in 1958 when two outbreaks occurred in captive monkey colonies kept for research purposes. Hence, the name ‘monkeypox’.
People with monkeypox often experience symptoms like fever, body aches and a rash. Most recover within weeks without needing medical care.
Complications of the infection include pneumonia, secondary skin infections, and eye problems.
Monkeypox is a largely self-limiting disease – which means it will resolve itself on its own, and will leave no long-term harmful effects on a patient health.
However, it can lead to death especially in children, and those with weak immune systems.
From animals to human, the infection is known to get transmitted thought direct contact with blood, body fluid, or lesions in the infected animals.
Human-to-human transmission can happen either through large respiratory secretion or contact with lesions of the infected person or contaminated objects.
However, unlike influenza or Covid-19, transmission of monkeypox though respiratory droplets needs prolonged face-to-face contact.
There is currently no specific treatment for monkeypox.
However, the Vaccinia vaccine, which was used against smallpox, had shown 85% efficacy in monkeypox prevention.