WHO declares monkeypox outbreak public health emergency

Geneva, Jul 23 (EFE).- The World Health Organization declared Saturday the monkeypox outbreak a public health emergency of international concern as cases around the world surge rapidly.

“Monkeypox is an outbreak that has spread around the world rapidly, through new modes of transmission about which we understand ‘too little’, and which meets the criteria of an emergency under International Health Regulations,” the United Nations said in a statement.

“For all of these reasons, I have decided that the global monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern”, the WHO’s director, Tedros Adhanom Gebreyesus, said on Sunday during a press conference.

The WHO chief said the risk of monkeypox was moderate in all regions around the world apart from Europe, where the current risk is high.

“There is also a clear risk of further international spread, although the risk of interference with international traffic remains low for the moment”, he added.

Over 16,000 cases and five deaths have been reported so far in 75 countries, according to official UN data.

The WHO said the Monkeypx outbreak was, for now, concentrated among men who have sex with men, especially those with multiple sexual partners.

“That means that this is an outbreak that can be stopped with the right strategies in the right groups”, Dr. Tedros said, urging all countries to work closely to deliver effective information and services to the affected communities.

“Stigma and discrimination can be as dangerous as any virus,” he warned.

It is the seventh time such a declaration — the WHO’s strongest call to action — has been made since 2009. The most recent was Covid-19, which was declared a public health emergency of international concern in 2020. EFE


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