As if the bad news contingent hadn’t already been exhausted with the rising corona numbers, the development of monkeypox is now also worrying. Out of concern about the increasing number of infected people, the WHO convened an emergency committee. The committee is to decide whether – in addition to the corona pandemic – there is a second health emergency of international importance. There should be an answer to this question on June 23, because then the emergency committee will meet, the WHO said on Tuesday.
Such a declaration has no direct consequences, but is intended to shake people up. After all, this is the highest alert level that the WHO can impose. The procedure is known from 2020, when the WHO focused on the Sars-CoV-2 coronavirus.
To date, more than 1,600 cases of monkeypox and almost 1,500 suspected cases from 39 countries have been reported worldwide. 32 of those countries had no known cases before May. The virus has been rampant in the other seven countries in Africa for decades. So far, 72 deaths have been reported from African countries. The WHO is currently investigating a possible death from monkeypox from Brazil.
Faster than Corona
This time, one does not want to wait until the situation gets out of control, said WHO specialist Ibrahima Socé Fall. It would be striking that the virus behaved unusually and more and more countries were affected. Therefore, a coordinated response would be necessary. It will be decided on June 23 whether it is really necessary to declare an emergency.
Meanwhile, the European Union is supplying itself with a vaccine against monkeypox. 110,000 cans are to be bought. The first cans should be delivered by the end of June.
Monkeypox is considered a less serious disease compared to smallpox, which has been eradicated since 1980. Experts had warned of the virus spreading, for example at upcoming festivals and parties. According to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), the incubation period is 5 to 21 days. Symptoms (including fever and skin rash, for example) usually go away on their own within a few weeks, but can lead to medical complications and, in very rare cases, death in some people.
Four cases in Austria
Two more cases of infection with the viral disease were reported in Austria on Monday. The first case of monkeypox was confirmed in Vienna on May 22nd, a second one last Friday. According to the Ministry of Health, one person from Vienna and one from Lower Austria are affected by the new infections. The latter is being treated as an inpatient in the federal capital in the Favoriten clinic, it was said on Monday. The Viennese have a mild course of the disease and are in isolation at home. Contact persons of the two patients are being surveyed, and all associated steps have been taken. There are four known cases in Austria so far.