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The world is in the middle of a monkey pox outbreak. The World Health Organization has registered more than 500 cases in 30 countries this year – including the United Kingdom, the United States and a number of European countries.
How does the western media explain the story? The BBC, CNBC and ABC News are not among those who used the image of a black person with acne monkey.
It would be like Nigeria, which has seen 247 cases since 2017 and 66 so far this year, would use exclusive images of white people with apes to cover its national epidemic.
This is nonsense, right?
Africans and health equality advocates were quick to respond to the use of black weapons by the Western media and the monkey owl faces. Nigerian journalist Mercy Abang tweet“This is an example of media bias at best; The monkey line has been reported in countries around the world, but only research shows [photos of] zezake. Tragic. “
Madhu Bai, Professor of Epidemiology and Global Health at McGill University, tweet“Journalists and editors of the northern global media are in urgent need of training on how to de-discriminate and stigmatize their reporting on Ebola, Covid, the line of monkeys.”
The coverage reflects media reports that followed the explosion in Nigeria in 2017. I was a co-author of a book BMJ Review of media coverage of apes. Here’s a story from the Voice of Europe publication that describes the first case of smallpox in England in 2018: “A terrible Nigerian disease called aphid is spreading in the UK for the first time.”
The message was then and now: Blame Africa for the monkey line.
Here are my tips for Western journalists on how to frame the history of aphids – and tips for public health officials on how to deal with the spread of the disease.
Show the facts.
The World Health Organization describes the monkey line as zoonotic: a disease that is transmitted from animals to humans. The virus occurs mainly in central and western Africa, often near tropical rainforests. However, it can appear anywhere in the world.
In 2003, the first monkey pox outbreak outside Africa was reported in six US states – Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, Ohio and Wisconsin. This outbreak was caused by human contact with infected prairie dogs kept as pets. Prairie dogs are herbivorous mammals that live in the pastures of North America. Pets were reportedly infected after an animal distributor in Illinois reportedly placed them near small mammals imported from Ghana.
This outbreak has resulted in more than 70 reported cases, all transmitted by contact with an infected prairie dog or with someone who has been infected by a prairie dog.
Genetic evidence indicates that the international outbreak is likely to have originated in Nigeria, but it is possible that the virus was spread by personal contact in Europe and the UK for several months.
Check the reasons for the current explosion.
There has always been a threat of monkey pox spreading internationally. But she has not done it yet. So the job of journalists is to talk to scientists who are trying to find out if anything has changed about the virus and how it spread.
Look at how Africa is responding to the monkey pox.
There is no need for affected countries to reinvent the wheel in the fight against the spread of this virus. Africa has the expertise to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of infectious diseases. We do this routinely, including for the monkey line. Recently, Efidayu Aditiva, General Director of the Nigeria Centers for Disease Control, tweet About the experience of monkey pox in Nigeria:
Nigeria’s first case of #MonkeyPox was identified in 1971 and after a 40-year hiatus, the monkey pox was re-examined in 2017. Since then, we have had sporadic cases and managed them. Now that added attention is being paid to #Monkeypox, here are NCDCgov’s resources on the subject.
A common adventitious resource that includes national public health response guidelines for the monkey line. The document provides important information that will help Western countries respond to this eruption, as well as improve the detection and prevention of future eruptions. One of the important lessons learned from Nigeria is the establishment of an emergency monkey pox operations center to coordinate all aspects of the response, led by a senior staff member of the Nigeria Centers for Disease Control and with the support of other global health agencies operating in the country. .
In conclusion, I will tell this to my children.
If my two daughters, Yagazi, 12, and Chimamanda, 9, asked me to explain what was going on with the monkey pox, here is what I would say: Monkey pox outbreaks are common in Africa, but I can happen everywhere. The infection is transmitted from some animals to humans. Human-to-human transmission occurs when a person comes in contact with infected wounds and body fluids. Cases are now being reported in countries outside Africa and this scares people in those countries.
I would also like to give you some tips for preventing monkey pox: Monkey pox is not as deadly as it seems. The type currently circulating is not usually fatal. However, they should always remember to wash their hands whenever they return home from a picnic, as their mother and I have taught them to do – this is one of the measures that helps protect you from infection.
And if they want to know why there are biased reports in the Western media, I will tell them that global health has a colonial history and that some Western media have been caught up in the effects of colonialism portraying Africa as a backward and backward continent. affected by diseases. .
I would also tell them not to let the media – or anyone – make them feel inferior because they are black and have to keep paying.
Ifeanyi Nsofor He is the Director of Policy and Advocacy at Watch Health Nigeria He is a senior member of New Voices at the Aspen Institute.