WHO considers monkeypox a global emergency

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WHO considers monkeypox a global emergency

More than 3,200 confirmed monkeypox cases and one death have been reported to the World Health Organization WHO as part of the current outbreak.

On Thursday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there was need for increased surveillance in the broader community.

He said that the majority of cases in non-endemic countries were still among men who have sex with men.

Person-to-person transmission is ongoing and is likely underestimated, said Tedros at a meeting of the International Health Regulations 2005 Emergency Committee.

The WHO convened a meeting of experts to decide whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency, but the organisation said it did not expect to announce any decisions made by its emergency committee before Friday.

A public health emergency of international concern is the highest level of alert by the WHO.

The UN health agency considers monkeypox to be an extraordinary event and that it is at risk of spreading across more borders, possibly requiring a global response.

It would also give monkeypox the same distinction as the COVID 19 pandemic and the ongoing effort to eradicate polio.

Many scientists don't think a declaration would help curb the epidemic, since the developed countries with the most recent cases are already moving quickly to shut it down.

There have been 48 countries reported cases in the current outbreak, which began in May.

Monkeypox has sickened people for decades in central and west Africa, where one version of the disease kills up to 10 per cent of people infected.

The version of the disease that is most often seen in Europe and elsewhere usually has a fatality rate of less than 1 per cent and no deaths beyond Africa have so far been reported.

There had been almost 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox this year in Central Africa and 70 deaths, according to Tedros.

The WHO head called for member states to share information on the disease, as it would help the agency in its goal to support countries to contain transmission.