The monkeypox virus has infected 3,417 people globally in 42 countries and was declared a pandemic by World Health Network (WHN) on Thursday, WHN is a global group of scientists and citizen teams. The declaration has come ahead of the WHO meeting on Thursday, to decide on the monkeypox outbreak designation.
Citing a monkeypox infection tracking website, the WHN said there are now about 3,417 confirmed monkeypox infections registered across 58 countries, and the virus is expanding at a rapid pace across different continents.
The WHN has urged WHO and National Centres for Disease Control to take immediate action to prevent monkeypox from becoming a disaster.
It is being said that even though death rates are lower than smallpox virus, the virus can still cause millions to die and render many blind and disabled, unless a coordinated global action is taken to curb the fast spreading outbreak.
"The WHO needs to urgently declare its own Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) -- the lessons of not declaring (Covid-19) a PHEIC immediately in early January 2020 should be remembered as a history lesson of what acting late on an epidemic can mean for the world," said Eric Feigl-Ding, PhD, Epidemiologist and Health Economist, and co-founder of WHN, in a press statement.
Till now majority of the cases have been in adults, but a spread among children may lead to more severe cases and more fatalities. The spread of infections in animals like rats, other rodents, pets can also make the situation worse and difficult to stop.
"There is no justification to wait for the monkeypox pandemic to grow further. The actions needed now only require clear public communication about symptoms, widely available testing, and contact tracing with very few quarantines. Any delay only makes the effort harder and the consequences more severe," stated Yaneer Bar-Yam, PhD, President of New England Complex System Institute and co-founder of WHN.
Monkeypox virus can cause significant harm to the public subsuming acute painful illness that may need hospitalisation, and may also result in death, blindness, skin scarring and other long term deformities. The most vulnerable to the severe diseases are children, people who are immunocompromised and pregnant people.