'Monkeypox becoming endemic in US, can be worst public health failure'

by IANS |

New York, Aug 3 (IANS) Monkeypox becoming endemic in the US would be the "worst public health failure in modern times" because it could have been prevented, says former Food and Drug Administration (FDA) director Scott Gottlieb.

Writing in the op-ed, Gottlieb said should the disease become endemic, it would be a serious failure because this could have been prevented, reports the Daily Mail.

"If monkeypox gains a permanent foothold in the US and becomes an endemic virus that joins our circulating repertoire of pathogens, it will be one of the worst public health failures in modern times," Gottlieb was quoted as saying.

"Not only because of the pain and peril of the disease, but also because it was so avoidable," he added.

Gottlieb pointed out that -- unlike when Covid first emerged -- there were already reliable vaccines and tests available to stop the disease in its tracks. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) failed to act rapidly, instead following the same 'protracted checklist' and making many of the same mistakes as when Covid struck.

He wrote in the New York Times that should the disease gain a foothold, it would be a disaster both because it could have been prevented and because infections -- which spark blisters across the body -- are painful. Many sufferers have said their symptoms were "worse than Covid".

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that infectious disease is likely to lead to more fatalities.

Catherine Smallwood, Senior Emergency Officer at WHO Europe, emphasised that the goal needs to be "interrupting transmission quickly and stopping this outbreak". However, she stressed that in most cases, the disease heals itself without the need for treatment.

In India, a 22-year-old youth from Kerala died last week reportedly due to monkeypox.

According to media reports, he returned to the state on July 21 from the UAE and was admitted to a private hospital on July 27 after developing encephalitis and fever. His lymph nodes were also swollen.

With new confirmed and suspected cases being reported, the country's tally rises to 8.

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