Because of the rapid increase in the incidence of smallpox in monkeys, especially in Europe, the Director-General of WHO has decided to raise the level of anxiety to the highest level.
Since, according to WHO, about 17,000 people in 74 countries had already been affected by smallpox, the organization had announced a maximum level of alarm to try to contain the spread of the disease; the Committee of Experts had met last Thursday but could not agree on whether the alarm should be raised; the decision had to be taken by Director General Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus.
"," he announced on Saturday 23 July at a press conference. " However, nine experts opposed USPPI and six spoke out.
Moderate global risk but high in Europe
According to the International Health Regulations, USPPI is used in the case of "an extraordinary event which is found to pose a health risk to the population of other States due to the possibility of international spread of the disease and which may require coordinated international action." It is used in situations that are "serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected." This is the seventh time WHO has used this type of warning, most recently for COVID-19 in 2020. The Director of WHO stated that the risk is high in Europe but relatively moderate in the rest of the world.
Endemic for the African continent, the disease is usually found in animals, although it can cause outbreaks in humans; sometimes cases are detected in non-endomic areas, but this particularly European epidemic is of concern to WHO.
Most of the time it hits men who have sex with men, even though everyone can get sick.
First discovered in 1970 in humans, smallpox is less dangerous and contagious than her cousin, a human smallpox that was eradicated in 1980, a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that 95 per cent of recent cases were transmitted through sexual contact and 98 per cent by gay or bisexual men.