Will WHO Declare Monkeypox Outbreak a Public Emergency?
DALLAS – As additional cases of monkeypox are identified and confirmed across the world, the WHO will meet today to discuss whether the outbreak should be classified as a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). For monkeypox to be declared a PHEIC, they will evaluate the outbreak with the following criteria: is it serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected, does it have potential for international spread and does it require a coordinated global response.
Yesterday, Dallas County Health and Human Services (DCHHS) announced they are investigating a second and a third monkeypox case in Dallas County residents. The residents recently traveled internationally to Spain and Mexico.
Preliminary test results were positive on June 21 and 22, 2022. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta, GA will be including both in their official case counts. Due to privacy concerns, DCHHS does not disclose the patients’ personal information.
Health Officials Say No Known Risk To Others
Public Health officials have identified individuals who have had direct contact with the patient. Those individuals are being monitored for symptoms of infection. In addition, CDC is working with the airline and state and local health officials to contact airline passengers and others who may have been in contact with the patient on board flights (including transfers) from Spain to Dallas, and Mexico to Dallas.
The patients have not been hospitalized. They are isolated and recovering at home, and do not pose a known risk to others at this time.
“We continue to work closely with the CDC and the Texas Department of State Health Services and have conducted interviews with the patient and are continuing to contact persons who have been in close contact,” said DCHHS Director Dr. Philip Huang. “We have determined that there is little known risk to the general public at this time. However, monkeypox cases have been spreading globally, and we are actively working with local healthcare providers to ensure they are prepared to recognize monkeypox and
report suspected cases to public health officials.”
How Monkeypox Is Spread
The monkeypox virus spreads between people primarily through direct contact with infectious sores, scabs, or body fluids. It also can be spread by respiratory secretions during prolonged, face-to-face contact.
Monkeypox can spread during intimate contact between people. This includes sex, as well as activities like kissing, cuddling, or touching parts of the body with monkeypox sores.
Recently, monkeypox cases have been linked to men who have sex with other men and participate in high-risk activities. Those infected with monkeypox may experience fever, rash, and swollen lymph nodes, as well as more serious complications. For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/index.html