WHO To Reassess Monkeypox Outbreak International Concern Status

After determining that the monkeypox outbreak did not meet the criteria to be considered a public health emergency of international concern, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced its plan to reassess the situation. 

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wants the organization’s Emergency Committee to examine and analyze the health issue again using the latest data on the epidemiology and evolution of the outbreak, CNN reported. 

During Wednesday’s media briefing, Ghebreyesus said he would be convening the committee again to discuss the monkeypox outbreak during the week of July 18, or sooner if possible. 

“On monkeypox, I continue to be concerned by the scale and spread of the virus. Across the world, there has now been more than 6,000 cases recorded in 58 countries,” Ghebreyesus said

He noted that testing for the viral infection has been challenging, so it’s very likely that many newer cases are left documented. The WHO official added that Europe has recorded more than 80% of the global cases, making it the epicenter of the outbreak. 

According to WHO, a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) is “an extraordinary event” that may require “a coordinated international response” due to the public health risk involved. 

In May, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that most cases reported at the time accounted for members of the LGBTQ community, especially men having sex with men. 

But last week, WHO’s regional director for Europe Dr. Hans Kluge said that updated data on the cases revealed that a small percentage already comprised kids and non-sexual contacts

Even though monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease, the virus can be passed through sexual intercourse, intimate contact and shared beddings. The virus can spread through contact with bodily fluids and sores. 

In late June, the CDC released its recommendations for those who should be getting the monkeypox vaccine. People who have had close contact with a monkeypox patient, men who have sex with men, sexually active transgender people, health care workers, and people who have traveled outside of the U.S. to places with confirmed monkeypox activity should get vaccinated, per the public health agency.

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