Coronavirus – Disease, Medical Sciences Involved & Preventive Measures

Monkeypox is ‘Public Health Emergency’


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: PHEIC, Monkeypox

Mains level: Rise in zoonotic diseases

The World Health Organization’s Director-General has declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) July 23, 2022.

What is PHEIC?

Definition: Under the International Health Regulations (IHR), a public health emergency is defined as “an extraordinary event which is determined, as provided in these Regulations: to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease; and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.

What criteria does the WHO follow to declare PHEIC?

  • PHEIC is declared in the event of some “serious public health events” that may endanger international public health.
  • The responsibility of declaring an event as an emergency lies with the Director-General of the WHO and requires the convening of a committee of members.

Implications of a PHEIC being declared

The PHEIC is the highest level of alert the global health body can issue.

  • There are some implications of declaring a PHEIC for the host country.
  • Only polio and SARS-CoV-2 were ongoing PHEIC prior to monkeypox.
  • Declaring a PHEIC may lead to restrictions on travel and trade.

Back2Basics: Monkeypox

  • The monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus, which is a genus of viruses that also includes the variola virus, which causes smallpox, and vaccinia virus, which was used in the smallpox vaccine.
  • It causes symptoms similar to smallpox, although they are less severe.
  • While vaccination eradicated smallpox worldwide in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in a swathe of countries in Central and West Africa, and has on occasion showed up elsewhere.
  • According to the WHO, two distinct clade are identified: the West African clade and the Congo Basin clade, also known as the Central African clade.


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