The Director General of the World Health Organization announced this Saturday July 23, 2022 to trigger the highest level of alert to deal with the outbreak of monkeypox cases in the world. The disease has already affected nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries.
A rapid resurgence of cases, in the space of two months, which worries. A look back at the events that led to this decision being taken by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
READ ALSO. Monkey pox. Symptoms, transmission, vaccination… Where is the epidemic?
1. Early May: UK cases appear
It was at the beginning of May that we started to hear about monkeypox again in Europe. Virus discovered in 1958, the first cases of transmission to humans were reported in 1970. Several epidemics followed. In 2003, dozens of people were affected in the United States and more recently, in 2017, Nigeria experienced an outbreak. Several cases had then appeared in the United Kingdom, among others.
It is in this same country that on May 6, a man returning from Nigeria was declared positive for monkeypox. Soon, several new cases will emerge in London. On May 17, the British Health Security Agency announced that a total of 7 cases had been identified since May 6.
2. May 19: first case recorded in France
Two days later, in Île de France, a first suspected case of monkey pox was recorded by the French health authorities. Information confirmed the next day, June 20, 2022, by the Directorate General of Health.
At the same time, several European countries are also reporting the discovery of cases of monkey pox on their territory: Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Portugal, etc.
3. End of May: outbreak of cases all over the world
The following days see a succession of new countries announcing their first cases, or new ones. This is the case of France. On May 28, monkeypox was detected in more than 20 countries around the world, including the United States, Australia, the United Arab Emirates, Argentina and a dozen countries in Europe. Therefore, several countries evoke the possibility of vaccination.
4. June 14: cases explode, vaccines ordered
Halfway through June, the number of cases multiplied. In Europe alone, 900 cases have been identified, in 19 different countries. On June 14, the European Union announces the signing of an agreement with the Danish group Bavarian Nordic for the supply of approximately 110,000 doses of vaccine against monkey pox. A vaccine against smallpox approved by the European Medicines Agency.
Barely four days later, Public Health France announces that 183 cases have been confirmed in France, most of them in Île de France. “At this stage, the cases reported in Europe are mostly mild, and there are no reported deaths,” specifies the health authority.
On June 18, the WHO also indicates, in an information bulletin sent to the media, to remove “the distinction between endemic countries and non-endemic countries”, in order to “reflect the unified response that is needed”.
5. June 25: “Not a Public Health Emergency of International Concern”
In a statement released after a meeting of experts, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, announced that the monkeypox epidemic was not “a public health emergency of international concern, which is WHO’s highest level of alert”
But in the days that followed, the World Health Organization called for a “urgent action” of Europe in the face of the multiplication of cases. 4,500 cases would then have been confirmed on July 1 in the laboratory, i.e. three times more than in mid-June.
6. In July, the “exponential increase” prompts the WHO to declare an emergency
In July, France exceeds 1,000 cases. On July 19, the health authorities speak of 1,453 confirmed cases and “an exceptional increase” because it includes a “data catch-up”.
Vaccination continues, but at a slow pace, testifies some, who are struggling to access it.
This Saturday, July 23, the WHO announced that 17,000 people have been affected, in 74 countries. And during a press briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus finally decided to declare a public health emergency of international concern.
According to Public Health France, 1,567 confirmed cases have been identified in the country as of Thursday July 21, 2022.