WHO Committee to meet again on monkeypox outbreak

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The World Health Organization (WHO) will again convene an emergency committee meeting on the global monkeypox outbreak and whether it should be declared a global health emergency.

According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the forum will take place in the week starting July 18 or even earlier.

Previously, the Emergency Committee on the International Health Regulations met to make did monkeypox spread should be considered a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). PHEIC is the highest warning level that the WHO can issue.

Although several members expressed “different views”, the WHO said in a statement that the outbreak should not constitute a PHEIC at this stage, although it noted the emergency nature of the event and that control of onward transmission required “an intensive response”.

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The Committee advised that this event should be monitored and reviewed, with several conditions requiring reassessment.

In a statement issued in response to the decision, Tedros said the situation required collective attention and coordinated action.

Workers sit outside DC Health's first monkeypox vaccination clinic, which administers the first doses of the Jynneos vaccine distributed in the US capital, in Washington, USA, June 28, 2022.

Workers sit outside DC Health’s first monkeypox vaccination clinic, which administers the first doses of the Jynneos vaccine distributed in the US capital, in Washington, USA, June 28, 2022.
(REUTERS/Gavino Garay)

overall risk of infection with monkeypox virus considered “moderate” globally and high in the European Region.

Around 80% of cases are in Europe, Tedros said, and there are now more than 6,000 cases from 58 countries.

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PHOTO PHOTO: Mockups of bottles with labels "monkeypox vaccine" seen in this illustration taken May 25, 2022.

PHOTO: A mock-up of vials labeled “Monkeypox Vaccine” is visible in this illustration taken May 25, 2022.
(REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo)

In the US, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that there are currently 605 confirmed cases of monkeypox and orthopoxvirus. Most of these cases are in California and New York.

Although the majority of new cases of monkeypox have been reported among gay or bisexual men, experts warn that anyone is at potential risk.

A man waits for his dose of Jynneos vaccine as the city launches its first monkeypox vaccination campaign in Washington, USA, June 28, 2022.

A man waits for his dose of Jynneos vaccine as the city launches its first monkeypox vaccination campaign in Washington, USA, June 28, 2022.
(REUTERS/Gavino Garay)

Usually people become infected with the monkeypox virus by contact with skin lesions or body fluids of infected animals or humans, or by contact with materials contaminated with the virus.

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Smallpox associated monkeypox has milder symptoms.

A little symptoms of monkeypox include fever, chills, rash, and pain before lesions develop.

Reuters contributed to this report.