More than 6,000 cases of monkeypox have now been reported from 58 countries in the current outbreak, according to the World Health Organization. The U.N. agency will reconvene a meeting of the committee that will advise on declaring the outbreak a global health emergency, the WHO’s highest level of alert, in the week beginning July 18 or sooner, Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference from Geneva.
The World Health Organization will convene an emergency committee on Thursday next week to assess whether the monkeypox outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern.
There have been more than 1,000 monkeypox cases reported to the World Health Organization in the current outbreak outside the countries in Africa where it more commonly spreads.
Outbreaks of endemic diseases such as monkeypox and lassa fever are becoming more persistent and frequent, the World Health Organization’s emergencies director, Mike Ryan, warned on Wednesday.
It is not clear yet whether the spread of monkeypox can be contained completely, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, adding that the WHO’s goal was to contain the outbreak by stopping human-to-human transmission to the maximum extent possible.
The World Health Organization’s governing board agreed on Monday to form a new committee to help speed up its response to health emergencies like COVID-19.
Countries have agreed to an initial U.S.-led push to reform the rules around disease outbreaks, known as the International Health Regulations, after early opposition from Africa and others was overcome this week, sources told Reuters on Friday.
Countries should take quick steps to contain the spread of monkeypox and share data about their vaccine stockpiles, a senior World Health Organization official said on Friday.
The World Health Organization does not have evidence that the monkeypox virus has mutated, a senior executive at the U.N. agency said on Monday, noting the infectious disease that has been endemic in west and central Africa has tended not to change.