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  • 25 Jul 2022
  • 4 min read

For Prelims: Viral zoonosis, Monkey Pox, Small Pox

For Mains: Zoonotic Diseases, Health

Why in News?

Recently, the WHO (World Health Organisation) has Declared Global Health Emergency and sounded the highest alarm on the Monkeypox Virus.

  • More than 16,000 cases of the virus - that was once largely confined to Africa - have been reported so far this year 2022.

What does Declaring an Emergency for Global Health Mean?

  • About:
    • Declaring a global emergency means the monkeypox outbreak is an “extraordinary event” that could spill over into more countries and requires a coordinated global response.
  • Elements helped consider Health Emergency:
    • The virus has spread to “non-endemic countries”. This virus has spread rapidly to many countries that have not seen it before.
    • Three criteria for declaring a public health emergency of international concern have been met as per WHO.
      • The three criteria for such a declaration are that it is an "Extraordinary Event," that it "Constitutes a Public Health Risk” to other States through the international spread of disease and that it "potentially requires a coordinated international response."
    • The number - within a month - has grown five-fold.
    • Scientific principles, evidence and other relevant information, are currently insufficient, leaving many unknowns.
    • The risk to human health, international spread, and the potential for interference with international traffic.
  • Previously Declared Emergency:
    • WHO previously declared emergencies for public health crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak, the Zika virus in Latin America in 2016 and the ongoing effort to eradicate Polio.
    • The emergency declaration mostly serves as a plea to draw more global resources and attention to an outbreak.

What is Monkeypox?

  • About:
    • Monkeypox is a viral zoonotic disease with symptoms similar to smallpox, although with less clinical severity.
    • The infection was first discovered in 1958 following two outbreaks of a pox-like disease in colonies of monkeys kept for research — which led to the name ‘monkeypox’.
  • Symptoms:
    • Infected people break out in a rash that looks a lot like chicken pox. But the fever, malaise, and headache from Monkeypox are usually more severe than in chicken pox infection.
    • In the early stage of the disease, Monkeypox can be distinguished from smallpox because the lymph gland gets enlarged.
  • Transmission:
    • Primary infection is through direct contact with the blood, bodily fluids, or cutaneous or mucosal lesions of an infected animal. Eating inadequately cooked meat of infected animals is also a risk factor.
    • Human-to-human transmission can result from close contact with infected respiratory tract secretions, skin lesions of an infected person or objects recently contaminated by patient fluids or lesion materials.
    • Transmission can also occur by inoculation or via the placenta (congenital monkeypox).
  • Vulnerability:
    • It spreads rapidly and can cause one out of ten deaths if infected.
  • Treatment and Vaccine:
    • There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for Monkeypox infection,
      • But the European Union has recommended a Small Pox Vaccine, Imvanex to treat monkeypox after the WHO declared monkeypox a global health emergency.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Questions (PYQs)

Q. Critically examine the role of WHO in providing global health security during the Covid-19 pandemic. (2020)

Source: IE

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