The World Health Organization (WHO) has just declared monkeypox a public health emergency of international concern.
Speaking at the World Health Organization on Saturday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom made the announcement.
“A month ago, I convened the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations to assess whether the multi-country monkeypox outbreak represented a public health emergency of international concern. At that meeting, while deferring views were expressed, the Committee resolved by consensus that the outbreak did not represent a public health emergency of international concern,” Adhanom began.
“At the time, 3,040 cases of monkeypox had been reported to [the] WHO, from 47 countries. Since then, the outbreak has continued to grow, and there are now more than 16,000 reported cases from 75 countries and territories and five deaths. In light of the evolving outbreak, I reconvened the Committee on Thursday of this week to review the latest data and advise me accordingly.”
Adhanom continues, saying that the Committee couldn’t reach a consensus but that ultimately, he made the decision to declare monkeypox an international health emergency, even though he acknowledges that the risk from monkeypox is moderate.
He adds that monkeypox represents a public health emergency due to the risk of continued international spread and possible disruption to travel.
“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” Adhanom said.
Tedros adds that for those countries that’ve seen several human-human cases of monkeypox, it’s recommended that they increase surveillance, look into monkeypox vaccination, and consider changing their recommendations for international travel.