New Delhi: The World Health Organization has decided the recent outbreak of the monkeypox virus is not a global health emergency currently. In a statement on Saturday (June 25), the WHO said the monkeypox virus which has hit 50 countries this year, should be closely monitored. “While a few members expressed differing views, the committee resolved by consensus to advise the WHO director-general that at this stage the outbreak should be determined to not constitute a global health emergency,” the WHO said, as per the Associated Press (AP).
This comes after a meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the monkeypox outbreak. The WHO panel also suggested that the monkeypox outbreak should be “closely monitored and reviewed after a few weeks.”
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took to Twitter and said he is “deeply concerned” about the monkeypox outbreak, which represents a “serious, evolving threat”. “The response requires urgent coordinated action now to stop the further spread of Monkeypox virus, using public health measures & ensuring health tools are available to at-risk populations & shared fairly,” he wrote.
If a disease is declared a global health emergency, it tantamounts to the health crisis being an “extraordinary” event that requires a globally-managed response and that the infection is at a high risk of spreading across borders. WHO has declared diseases including Covid-19, Ebola in Congo and West Africa, Zika in Brazil and polio as global health emergencies previously.
Monkeypox virus cases so far
As per AP, the WHO said this week over 3,200 monkeypox infections in about 40 countries have been confirmed.
Africa, where monkeypox cases were reported before the recent global outbreak, has reported 1,500 cases, and 70 deaths in Congo, Cameroon and the Central African Republic. In Africa, it usually affects people who come into contact with infected wild animals, like rodents or primates.
(With agency inputs)