by Courtesy of San Diego County Health and Human Service Agency

The World Health Organization declared the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern after convening its second emergency committee on the issue. 

The announcement comes a day after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed two children have been diagnosed with the virus. One is a toddler from California, and the other is an infant who is not a U.S. resident but tested in Washington D.C. 

The CDC described the children as in good health and receiving treatment. It remains unclear how they contracted the virus, but experts it was via household transmission. 

Other details weren’t immediately disclosed.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus announced the decision Saturday and called the monkeypox outbreak “a public health emergency of international concern”. 

“We have an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly through new modes of transmission, about which we understand too little,” Tedros said. “I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are divergent views.”

According to the WHO, cases of monkeypox are widely distributed across the United States, although most cases are concentrated in three large cities. While a few cases have occurred in children and pregnant women, 99 percent are related to male-to-male sexual contact.

​​The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that it’s not clear how the people were exposed to monkeypox, but early data suggest that gay, bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men make up a high number of cases.

Anyone with close contact with an infected individual is at risk of contracting the virus.

The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) reports about 20 confirmed and probable cases as of July 22.  

According to the San Diego County HHSA, monkeypox is a viral infection that can spread through contact with body fluids, sores on the body of someone who has monkeypox, or from shared items that have been contaminated with fluids from sores of a person with monkeypox. The disease can also spread between people through saliva or respiratory droplets, typically between people in a close setting. 

The virus can also be transmitted through skin-to-skin and another intimate contact, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

For more information on monkeypox, visit the County’s monkeypox website.

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