Monkeypox declared global health emergency by WHO as cases surge

The global monkeypox outbreak has been declared a public health emergency of international concern by the World Health Organization (WHO) – the strongest call to action the agency can make.It is the seventh time such a declaration has been made since 2009, the most recent being for Covid-19, which was given the same label by the WHO in 2020, and follows a meeting of a committee of experts on Thursday.A public health emergency of international concern – or PHEIC – is defined by the WHO’s international health regulations as “an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response”.The UN health agency said the term implies the situation is serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected, that it carries implications for public health beyond national borders, and that it may require immediate international attention.What is monkeypox and how worried should we be?Read moreDr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director general, said at a press conference that the committee met on Thursday to review the latest data, but that they were unable to reach a consensus. However, he has since decided to break the deadlock by declaring a PHEIC.“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 global health emergency of international concern.”While he said the risk of monkeypox was “moderate” globally, it was “high” in Europe and there was “a clear risk of further international spread”.Globally, there have so far been 16,016 monkeypox cases – 4,132 of which were in the past week, according to WHO data. (). Continue reading.



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