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WHO says monkeypox is not a health emergency yet

Ghebreyesus urged governments around the world to step up surveillance

“Many of us might think we are done with COVID-19. It’s not done with us,’’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general, WHO | AP

The World Health Organisation said the rapid spread of monkeypox across several nations isn't a global emergency yet. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that monkeypox is an evolving health threat and urged governments around the world to step up surveillance-- contact tracing, testing and ensuring that people at high risk have access to vaccines and antiviral treatments, AFP reported.

Since early May, around 3,000 cases of monkeypox have been reported across more than 50 countries, according to WHO data. WHO's emergency committee convened to ascertain the level of threat monkeypox currently poses to the international community. 

"Overall, in the report, they (the emergency committee) advised me that at this moment the event does not constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern, which is the highest level of alert WHO can issue but recognized that the convening of the committee itself reflects the increasing concern about the international spread of monkeypox," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told CNN.

Monkeypox spreads through direct contact. Also, the disease can be severe in immunocompromised persons, pregnant women and children. Also, healthcare workers are at risk if they don't wear appropriate personal protective equipment.

WHO, on Saturday, called the virus an evolving health threat and Ghebreyesus said the virus was behaving more unusually than it used to in the past.


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