Monkeypox (mpox), an infectious disease caused by the monkeypox virus, is no longer an international emergency following an outbreak last year, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.
At a press conference on Thursday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at Geneva, Switzerland, said there had been 90% fewer cases in the past three months.
Cases began to rise in the summer of 2022. Worldwide, there have been more than 87,000 confirmed cases and 140 deaths in 111 countries, according to the WHO.
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In the United States, weekly cases peaked in August 2022 at 646, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Since then, cases have steadily declined, with only one new weekly case reported in the country as of May 10.
“We are now seeing steady progress in control the epidemic based on HIV lessons and working closely with the communities most affected,” Ghebreyesus said.
Initially, it was feared that affected communities would experience backlash, but Ghebreyesus noted that “this has largely not materialized”.
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WHO officially declared monkeypox a public health emergency in July 2022.
“While I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, at this time this is an epidemic that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, particularly those who have multiple sexual partners,” said then declared the general manager.
The agency previously reported that the outbreak resulted from sexual activity at two raves in Europe.
“The medical community is still keeping tabs on it, but overall it’s a public health success.”
The WHO officially renamed the infection “mpox” in November 2022 due to concerns about racism.
The main symptom is a rash that can appear on the hands, feet, chest, face, mouth, and/or genitals, according to the CDC. The rash goes through several stages before it crusts over and heals.
Other common symptoms include fever, chills, fatigue, muscle aches, headache, swollen lymph nodes, cough, sore throat and nasal congestion.
Symptoms usually begin within three weeks of exposure, although some people may be asymptomatic.
Monkeypox is transmitted through physical contact with an infected person and can sometimes be transmitted from animals to humans. A person is contagious from the time symptoms begin until the rash is completely healed.
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For those at risk, the CDC recommends getting vaccinated to prevent infection.
JYNNEOS is a two-dose vaccine designed to protect against both monkeypox and smallpox.
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Dr. Marc Siegel, Professor of Medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center and a Fox News medical contributor, credit the vaccine with helping end the outbreak.
“The use of ring vaccination, where those who were close to monkeypox cases are vaccinated, played a role,” he told Fox News Digital.
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Public education and awareness of risk factors has also been key, he said.
“The medical community is still keeping tabs on it, but overall it was a public health success,” Siegel added.