Raising the Alarm

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The World Health Organization declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern Saturday, as cases of the virus increase worldwide and countries scramble to secure enough vaccines, Politico reported.

WHO has recorded more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox in dozens of countries since May.

Monkeypox is spread between humans through close contact with an infected person and the symptoms include fever, rash as well as swollen lymph nodes. It may infect anybody but in the present outbreak, cases have largely been discovered in males who have sex with men.

The pathogen is endemic in parts of Africa but the recent global outbreak has raised fears about the virus establishing itself outside the continent. Health professionals noted that the cases are occurring in countries without travel links to areas where the virus is endemic.

Health officials also welcomed WHO’s designation because it could bring more attention to monkeypox, which has been largely ignored despite spreading for decades in Africa.

Meanwhile, WHO officials warned countries to take the outbreak seriously and cautioned that the declaration should not be used as a way to implement surveillance on groups most affected by the virus.

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