The WHO Emergency Committee is meeting to assess the current outbreak of the disease which is affecting nearly 17,000 people in 74 countries.
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“I’ve decided to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of the WHO, announced on Saturday July 23 that the organization was issuing its highest level of alert in an attempt to contain the outbreak of monkeypox, which has struck nearly 17,000 people in 74 country. He also specified that the risk in the world was relatively moderate, except in Europe where it is high.
The leader explained that the committee of experts had failed to reach a consensus, remaining divided on the need to trigger the highest level of alert. In the end, it is up to the general manager to decide. “It’s a call to action, but it’s not the first,” said Mike Ryan, the WHO’s emergency manager, who said he hoped it would lead to collective action against disease.
Since early May, when it was detected outside African countries where it is endemic, the disease has struck more than 16,836 people in 74 countries, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) dashboard. ) as of July 22. Monkeypox is not a sexually transmitted disease but, outside endemic areas, it affects men who have sex with men with rare exceptions. If the health authorities have reported a drop in the rate of contagion, the number of cases is increasing rapidly.
The qualification “Public Health Emergency of International Concern (USPPI)” is used in situations “serious, sudden, unusual or unexpected”. It is defined by the WHO as a “extraordinary event” the propagation of which constitutes a “risk to public health in other states” and may require “coordinated international action”. This is only the 7th time that the WHO has used this level of alert.