MIL OSI Translation. Region: France and French Territories –
Source: United Nations – in French 2
Headline: Monkey pox is not currently a global public health emergency, says WHO
The monkeypox outbreak is not currently a global public health emergency, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Saturday, although “intense response efforts” are needed to control the spread.
The announcement comes two days after WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreysus convened an emergency committee on the disease, under the International Health Regulations (IHR), to deal with the rising number of case.
“The Director-General of WHO agrees with the advice offered by the IHR Emergency Committee regarding the outbreak of monkeypox in several countries and, at this time, does not determine that the event constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),” the UN agency said in a statement.
The PHEIC declaration is the highest global alert level, which currently only applies to the COVID-19 pandemic and poliomyelitis.
Monkeypox, a rare viral disease, occurs mainly in tropical rainforest areas of Central and West Africa, although it is sometimes exported to other regions.
Since May, more than 3,000 cases have emerged in 47 countries, many of which had never previously reported the disease. The highest numbers are currently in Europe and most cases are in men who have sex with men.
Prevent the spread
There have been few hospitalizations to date and one death.
“The Committee unanimously recognized the urgency of the outbreak and that controlling the spread requires intense response efforts,” the statement said.
Members also recommended that the situation be closely monitored and reviewed after a few weeks.
Conditions that could prompt a reassessment are evidence of an increased growth rate of cases over the next 21 days, the occurrence of cases among sex workers, significant spread to and within other countries and an increase in the number of cases among vulnerable groups such as people with poorly controlled HIV infection, pregnant women and children.
Other situations mentioned include evidence of reverse spillover to the animal population or significant changes to the viral genome.
In a statement, Dr Tedros said he was deeply concerned about the spread of the disease and that he and the WHO were monitoring the evolving threat very closely.
“What makes the current outbreak of particular concern is the rapid and continued spread to new countries and regions and the risk of further and sustained transmission to vulnerable populations, including immunocompromised people, pregnant women and children” , did he declare.
He stressed the need for both collective attention and coordinated action through public health measures, including surveillance, contact tracing, isolation and patient care, and ensuring that vaccines, treatments and other tools are available to at-risk populations and shared equitably.
The WHO chief noted that the Committee had pointed out that monkeypox had been circulating in a number of African countries for decades and had been neglected in terms of research, attention and funding.
“This needs to change not just for monkeypox but for other neglected diseases in low-income countries,” he said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.