The World Health Organization has said monkeypox has not yet reached the status of a global health emergency, although WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was very concerned about the outbreak.
“I am very concerned about the outbreak of monkeypox, which is clearly an evolving health threat that my colleagues and I in the WHO Secretariat are closely following,” Tedros said.
The classification of “global emergency” currently applies only to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio, and the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) has retracted the inclusion of monkeypox in this classification after advice from a meeting of international experts.
After reviewing the experts’ report, Tedros said that “the emergency committee has expressed serious concerns about the size and speed of the current outbreak,” noting many things that are still unknown in terms of the outbreak and data gaps.
According to the organization, the number of confirmed cases of this disease reached 3,200, while one death was reported in the past six weeks from 48 countries that did not usually witness an outbreak of this disease.
Yesterday, Reuters quoted a separate statement by the “World Health” that although there were some different opinions within the committee, it was finally agreed upon unanimously that the outbreak at this stage does not represent a public health emergency of international concern.
So far this year, nearly 1,500 cases and 70 deaths have been recorded in Central Africa, where the disease is most prevalent, especially in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Monkeypox is a rare disease that can be transmitted from animals to humans and vice versa. Its symptoms include fever, muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills, fatigue, and a chicken pox-like rash on the hands and face.
There are vaccines and treatment available for monkeypox, although the availability of these is limited.
Some global health experts said the WHO might be reluctant to make a declaration, because its declaration in January 2020 that the novel coronavirus constituted a public health emergency was largely met with skepticism around the world. But others said the outbreak met the criteria for being called an emergency.