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WHO declares monkeypox a global health emergency

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the multi-country monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of global concern.

A global emergency is WHO’s highest level of alert — the last public health emergency declared by the organisation was the COVID pandemic.

Speaking on Saturday at a media briefing on monkeypox, Tedros Ghebreyesus, WHO director general, said the decision on the emergency status was taken, despite a lack of consensus by the emergency committee of the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR), after reconvening following its earlier declaration that monkeypox was not yet a global health emergency.

The director-general said the risk of monkeypox is moderate globallyit has been assessed as high.

He said there is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment.

“So, in short, we have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little and which meets the criteria in the International Health Regulations,” he said.

“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.”

Ghebreyesus said he has, therefore, made a set of recommendations for four groups of countries — those yet to report a case; those with recently imported cases of monkeypox; those with transmission of monkeypox from animals to humans; and those with manufacturing capacity for vaccines and therapeutics.

“Although I am declaring a public health emergency of international concern, for the moment, this is an outbreak that is concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners,” he said.

“That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups.

“It’s therefore essential that all countries work closely with communities of men who have sex with men, to design and deliver effective information and services, and to adopt measures that protect both the health, human rights and dignity of affected communities.”

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  1. Cordell Fishback

    July 25, 2022 5:47 am at 5:47 am

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Over 30 infected as virus called Langya is discovered in China

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Scientists have discovered a new virus named Langya henipavirus (LayV) in China.

The discovery was announced in a letter written by researchers from China, Singapore and Australia and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers, in their letter, said Langya virus is a type of henipavirus, a category of zoonotic viruses which can be transmitted from animals to humans.

They said acute Langya infection was identified in 35 patients in the Shandong and Henan provinces of China, among whom 26 were infected with LayV only (no other pathogens were present). They said the patients are thought to have contracted the virus from animals.

“These 26 patients presented with fever (100% of the patients), fatigue (54%), cough (50%), anorexia (50%), myalgia (46%), nausea (38%), headache (35%), and vomiting (35%), accompanied by abnormalities of thrombocytopenia (35%), leukopenia (54%), and impaired liver (35%) and kidney (8%) function. A serosurvey of domestic animals detected seropositivity in goats (3 of 168 [2%]) and dogs (4 of 79 [5%]),” the letter reads.

The researchers said there is no evidence so far that Langya virus can transmit from human to human.

“There was no close contact or common exposure history among the patients, which suggests that the infection in the human population may be sporadic. Contact tracing of 9 patients with 15 close-contact family members revealed no close-contact LayV transmission, but our sample size was too small to determine the status of human-to-human transmission for LayV,” the letter reads.

The scientists added that the Langya virus LayV was found in 27% of shrews tested, suggesting the mole-like mammals may be “natural reservoirs” for the virus.

According to the BBC, Wang Linfa, one of the researchers, said the cases of Langya virus found so far have not been fatal or very serious, so there is “no need to panic”.

He, however, added that there is still a need to be on the alert as many viruses that exist in nature have unpredictable results when they infect humans.

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FBI raids Donald Trump’s house over ‘removal of classified materials from White House’

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United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents have reportedly searched the home of Donald Trump, former US president, in Florida.

Trump in a statement, describes the “raid” as a weaponisation of the US justice system, and an attack by democrats who do not want him to run for president in 2024.

“These are dark times for our Nation, as my beautiful home, Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida, is currently under siege, raided, and occupied by a large group of FBI agents. Nothing like this has ever happened to a President of the United States before. After working and cooperating with the relevant Government agencies, this unannounced raid on my home was not necessary or appropriate,” the statement reads.

“Such an assault could only take place in broken, Third-World Countries. Sadly, America has now become one of those Countries, corrupt at a level not seen before. They even broke into my safe!”

According to Reuters, a source familiar with the matter said the search appeared to be tied to Trump’s removal of classified records from the White House.

American presidents are required by law to transfer all of their letters, work documents and emails to the National Archives (NA).

The FBI or the justice department have not commented on the reported search.

In US, a federal search warrant must be signed by a judge. However, law enforcement agencies must first show the possibility that evidence of illegality will be found during the search.

Following news of the search, some of Trump’s supporters gathered across the street from his private residence, expressing anger over the search.

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Nigerian embassy in Mexico shut as six staff test positive for COVID-19

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The Nigerian embassy in Mexico has been shut owing to an outbreak of COVID-19 at the embassy.

In a statement on Monday, Abimbola Tooki, special adviser on media to Adejare Bello, Nigerian ambassador to Mexico, said six staff of the embassy tested positive for COVID-19.

According to the statement, the ambassador, while announcing the closure, said it will last for seven days beginning from August 8.

He said the affected staff are undergoing treatment and that the situation is under control.

“The closure of the missions to forestall further spread of the virus. A total of 6.82 million cases with 328,000 deaths have so far been recorded in Mexico since the outbreak of the virus,” the statement reads.

“Bello disclosed that appropriate quarters like the ministry of foreign affairs, Abuja and that of Mexico have been duly notified of this development.

“The temporary closure, according to the ambassador, will allow the Embassy to be fumigated and all other precautions put in place while the closure lasts.

“Bello also disclosed that all home based officers and the local staffof the mission have been directed to work from home pending further directives.

“Mexico has administered at least 209 million doses of COVID vaccines so far. Assuming every person needs two doses, that’s enough to have vaccinated about 82.2% of the country’s population.The temporary closure will allow the Embassy to be fumigated among other precautionary measures.

“On April 10, 2021, Mexico reported a large number of confirmed new deaths after consolidating data from last year to include deaths that were not confirmed at the time. Two-thirds of the 2,192 deaths reported on date had occurred in 2020 and at the time were not marked down as COVID-19 fatalities.”

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