The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a call to action that is as severe as the organisation can make in response to the global outbreak of monkeypox. The outbreak has been labelled a public health emergency of international significance.
It is the seventh time since 2009 that a statement of this kind has been issued. The most recent one was for Covid-19, which was granted the same classification by the WHO in 2020. The pronouncement came after a meeting of a committee of experts on Thursday.
According to the WHO’s international health regulations, a public health emergency of international concern, also known as a PHEIC, is “an extraordinary event that is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.” In other words, a PHEIC is “an extraordinary event that is determined to constitute a public health risk to other states through the international spread of disease.”
According to the health agency of the United Nations, the term “epidemic” suggests that the situation is serious, sudden, unusual, or unexpected; that it carries implications for public health that extend beyond national borders; and that it may require immediate attention from the international community.
To the left are mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virions, and to the right are juvenile, spherical monkeypox virions, both of which were isolated from a sample of human skin connected to the prairie dog outbreak in 2003.
The director general of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, stated during a news conference that the committee convened on Thursday to analyse the most recent statistics, but that they were unable to come to a decision because they were unable to achieve an agreement.
However, he has since made the decision to do something to break the impasse by announcing a PHEIC.
According to what he had to say, “in a nutshell, we have an outbreak that has spread over the world swiftly through new mechanisms of transmission about which we understand too little and which satisfies the criteria under the international health standards.”
“Having considered all of these factors, I have come to the conclusion that the global outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a global health emergency that warrants international attention.”
He stated that the risk of monkeypox was “moderate” all over the world, but that the risk was “high” in Europe and that there was “a clear risk of further international spread.”
According to data from the WHO, there have been 16,016 instances of monkeypox so far across the world, with 4,132 of those cases occuring in the most recent week.
There have been five fatalities reported so far, and it has already spread to 75 nations and territories.