Monkeypox, which has infected 3,417 people across 42 countries, has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Network (WHN), a global collaboration of scientific and citizen teams, Insider Paper reported.
The declaration comes before the World Health Organization (WHO) meeting on Thursday, where the disease’s designation will be decided.
The World Health Organization says there have been 3,417 confirmed cases of monkeypox, and the outbreak is quickly spreading to other continents.
The World Health Network has urged the WHO and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to take immediate action to prevent monkeypox from becoming a disaster.
While monkeypox’s death rates are lower than smallpox, it is speculated that millions may die unless action is taken to limit the disease’s spread worldwide.
“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,” Eric Feigl-Ding, Ph.D., Epidemiologist and Health Economist and co-founder of WHN, said in a statement.
“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,” added Yaneer Bar-Yam, Ph.D., President of New England Complex System Institute and co-founder of WHN.
Most monkeypox cases have been in adults so far, but children may also be infected with the disease. Infections from rats, other rodents, and pets will make it harder to stop as well.
Monkeypox could spread to anyone. Possible results of the disease include acute pain, blindness, skin scarring, long-term impairments, and even death. The disease can be deadly for pregnant women, children, and those with weakened immune systems as well.