WHO declares expanding monkeypox outbreak a global emergency

The World Health Organization said on Saturday that the growing outbreak of monkeypox in more than 70 countries is an “extraordinary” situation that has now been labeled a global emergency, a statement that could spur new investment in treating the disease. once-rare disease and worsening the rush for rare vaccines.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus took the decision to release the statement despite the lack of consensus among members of the WHO emergency committee. It was the first time the head of the UN health agency had taken such a step.

“We have an epidemic that has spread rapidly around the world through new modes of transmission that we understand too little and that meet the criteria of international health regulations,” Tedros said.

“I know this has not been an easy or straightforward process and that there are differing opinions among the members” of the committee.

Although monkeypox has been established in parts of West and Central Africa for decades, it was not known to trigger large epidemics beyond the continent or to spread widely among people until in May, when authorities detected dozens of outbreaks in Europe, North America and elsewhere.

Declaring a global emergency means the monkeypox outbreak is an “extraordinary event” that could spread to more countries and requires a coordinated global response.

The WHO has previously declared emergencies for public health crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2014, the Zika virus in Latin America in 2016 and ongoing efforts to eradicate poliomyelitis.

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