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WHO deciding on sounding highest alarm on monkeypox

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A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

Geneva – Monkeypox experts on Thursday were discussing whether the World Health Organization should classify the outbreak as a global health emergency – the highest alarm it can sound.

A second meeting of the WHO’s emergency committee on the virus was being held to examine the worsening situation, with nearly 15 400 cases reported from 71 countries, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

A surge in monkeypox infections has been reported since early May outside the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic.

On June 23, the WHO convened an emergency committee of experts to decide if monkeypox constitutes a so-called Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) — the UN health agency’s highest alert level.

But a majority advised the WHO’s chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus that the situation, at that point, had not met the threshold.

The second meeting was called with case numbers rising and spreading to six more countries in the past week.

The WHO confirmed the meeting, held in private, was under way.

If the committee advises Tedros that the outbreak constitutes a PHEIC, it will propose temporary recommendations on how to better prevent and reduce the spread of the disease and manage the global public health response.

But there is no timetable for when the outcome will be made public.

Ninety-eight percent of reported cases “are among men who have sex with men (MSM) — and primarily those who have multiple recent anonymous or new partners,” Rosamund Lewis, the WHO’s technical lead for monkeypox, told a press conference on Wednesday.

They are typically of young age and chiefly in urban areas, according to the WHO.

The committee is looking at the latest trends and data, how effective the counter measures are and make recommendations for what countries and communities should do to tackle the outbreak.

AFP

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