ADDIS ABABA – The World Health Organisation has declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern following surge in cases.
The declaration comes a month after the UN agency said the outbreak did not yet warrant being declared a global health emergency.
At the time, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom said 3040 cases of monkeypox had been reported to WHO, from 47 countries.
“Since then, the outbreak has continued to grow, and there are now more than 16 thousand reported cases from 75 countries and territories, and five deaths,” he told a virtual press briefing today.
WHO’s Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations, an advisory body, met on Thursday to review the latest data regarding the outbreak.
The emergency committee, Tedros said, had been unable to reach a consensus on whether the monkeypox outbreak should be classified as a global health emergency.
“WHO’s assessment is that the risk of monkeypox is moderate globally and in all regions, except in the European region, where we assess the risk as high,” the WHO head said.
However, he said the outbreak had spread around the world rapidly and he had decided that it was indeed of international concern.
There are only two other such health emergencies at present – the coronavirus pandemic and the continuing effort to eradicate polio.
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