WHO Assurance: Monkeypox Not Currently A Global Health Emergency

Geneva: In a reassuring development, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that the monkeypox outbreak was a deeply concerning evolving threat but did not constitute a global health emergency right now.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus had met experts earlier this week to be advised on whether to sound the strongest alarm of the UN health agency.

“The emergency committee shared serious concerns about the scale and speed of the current outbreak noting many unknowns about the spread and gaps in the data,” Tedros said.

“They advised me that at this moment the event does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), which is the highest level of alert WHO can issue, but recognized that the convening of the committee itself reflects the increasing concern about the international spread of monkeypox,” Tedros added.

WHO pointed out that over 3,500 confirmed monkeypox cases have been detected across 58 countries and ‘concerted global action’ is necessary to stop further spread.

World Health Network (WHN), a global task force comprising scientists and doctors, declared monkeypox as a ‘pandemic’ and wanted WHO to act.

Around 3,200 confirmed cases, including one death, have been reported to the WHO from more than 50 countries since May.

Acknowledging that the outbreak was “clearly an evolving health threat’, Tedros said immediate action is necessary to stop further spread, using surveillance, contact-tracing, isolation and care of patients, and ensuring vaccines and treatments are available to at-risk populations.

The members of the expert committee will be watching the situation closely and reconvene as and when necessary.

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