The World Health Organization will decide on Thursday whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency, stirring criticism from leading African scientists who say it has been a crisis in their region for years.
The World Health Organization is looking into reports that the monkeypox virus is present in the semen of patients, exploring the possibility that the disease could be sexually transmitted, a WHO official said on Wednesday.
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.
Diagnostic companies are racing to develop tests for monkeypox, hoping to tap into a new market as governments ramp up efforts to trace the world’s first major outbreak of the viral infection outside of Africa.
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.
As cases and news of monkeypox spread globally, scientists are investigating the unprecedented outbreak. BioSpace compiled updates about tracking, origins and treatments concerning monkeypox.