Monkeypox Poses New Public Health Concerns
With COVID-19 still fresh in our minds, business and industry are on high alert after recent news from the World Health Organization (WHO). Rising cases of monkeypox in populous countries led the WHO to elevate the status of monkeypox to a “global health emergency.” Although we know more about monkeypox than we did about COVID-19, there’s no less trepidation about what another pandemic might bring.
A new global health emergency
Monkeypox isn’t a new virus, but it’s become a considerable concern this year due to rising infection rates around the world. According to recent figures, more than 16,000 cases of monkeypox have been confirmed in more than 75 countries, and the number of infections has increased by a staggering 77% from late June through early July. Monkeypox is an international issue — and it isn’t going away anytime soon.
Europe is the epicenter of the monkeypox outbreak, but the United States now has more cases than any other country in which the disease is not endemic. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been proactive in its response to the outbreak, mobilizing quickly with a supply of vaccines and treatments to combat monkeypox.
Unlike the early days of COVID-19, there is already an effective vaccine for monkeypox: the JYNNEOS vaccine. It was originally developed to prevent smallpox, but it reportedly protects against monkeypox as well.
In recent weeks, the HHS has distributed nearly 200,000 vaccines, and approximately 800,000 more doses are scheduled for delivery this summer, with millions more on the horizon for mid-2023. The department has also promised tens of thousands of tests will soon be available for weekly delivery to doctors and healthcare facilities nationwide.
The potential for economic disruption persists
Monkeypox is spreading quickly. Unless the world gets a handle on the outbreak, there’s a chance of more disruption to the manufacturing industry, with effects much like those of the recent pandemic. The world is still on high alert from COVID-19, and confirmed cases of monkeypox could result in shutdowns, an increased focus on facility sterilization, and other all too familiar challenges.
Manufacturers may have learned from the most recent pandemic, but a full-scale monkeypox outbreak will likely cause additional upset. For example, the need to limit shifts to manage transmission risk would slow factory output. Similarly, factory closures could quickly reintroduce supply chain gaps and result in consumer shortages.
Monkeypox is far from pandemic classification at this point, and there are more safeguards in place to deal with it. That said, manufacturers must take every precaution to protect against the potential disruption of a full-scale outbreak.