WHO: Monkeypox is not yet a health emergency

The World Health Organization (WHO) says monkeypox is not yet a global public health emergency.

The statement came after a meeting of WHO experts and leaders on June 23. The WHO said the committee had some differing views, but all agreed that at this stage the outbreak was not a Public Health Emergency of Emergency (PHEIC).

Previously, the WHO had said that monkeypox outbreaks outside Africa would not become a pandemic. According to experts, monkeypox is less contagious than Covid-19. The disease is transmitted by very close contact, mostly by touching the skin or touching the clothes, pillows and sheets of the sick person for a long time. Meanwhile, nCoV and its variants are very contagious, especially in closed rooms, through contact and talking.

Symptoms of monkeypox are flu-like with lesions and pustules on the skin. In the new outbreak, the pathogen mainly infects people who have sex with men. Monkey smallpox has a vaccine and treatment, although supplies are limited.

Currently, WHO only recognizes Covid-19 and the worldwide effort to eradicate polio is PHEIC. The organization decided not to add monkeypox to this list after consulting recommendations from international experts during the meeting.

Pustules on the body of a patient with monkeypox. Image: VisualDx

However, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus still expressed concern about the outbreak: “I am extremely concerned about the monkeypox outbreak. This is clearly a growing health threat that I and my colleagues are facing. Colleagues are watching very closely.”

Recently, researchers in Portugal said the monkeypox virus has more mutations than expected, causing infections to increase across the UK and US. The latest strain has 50 more genetic variants than related viruses that circulated in 2018-2019.

The WHO recorded more than 3,200 cases of monkeypox and one death in 48 countries where the disease had not previously circulated. Central Africa, where the disease is more common, has had 1,500 cases and 70 deaths, mostly in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Thuc Linh (Follow Reuters)


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