WHO says monkeypox is no longer a global health emergency

The World Health Organization declared on Thursday the monkeypox outbreak is no longer a global health emergency.

“Yesterday, the emergency committee for mpox met and recommended to me that the multi-country outbreak of mpox no longer represents a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. I have accepted that advice. And I’m pleased to declare that mpox is no longer a global health emergency,” Tedros said.

In July 2022, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared monkeypox, also known as mpox, a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) – “an extraordinary event” that constitutes a “public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease” and “to potentially require a coordinated international response.”

Declaring PHEIC signals that countries need to work together to manage a shared threat, such as a disease outbreak, according to BBC.  

Tedros said the way the new mpox spread via sexual contact in many countries that had never had cases of mpox, raised many concerns that warranted more attention, according to EuroNews

More than 97,000 and 140 deaths have been reported from 111 countries during the global outbreak, according to a WHO count. However, over the last three months, there have been nearly 90% fewer cases compared to the previous three-month period, Tedros said. 

Mpox is one of seven diseases that have been declared as an emergency outbreak since 2007: mpox, COVID-19, Zika, H1N1 flu, polio, and Ebola (which has gotten the declaration twice).

Mpox is in the family of poxviruses, which includes smallpox. It is endemic to parts of West and Central Africa and is usually contracted from rodents or small mammals. Many with the disease will develop a rash on the hands, feet, chest, face, mouth, or near the genitals. 

The disease can be spread through body fluids, sores, or items that have been contaminated with the virus, such as clothing and bedding. It can also be spread through respiratory droplets.

This announcement comes shortly after the WHO declared the COVID-19 emergency over. As of now, there is one PHEIC for poliovirus, which was declared in May 2014.


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