Another emergency meeting has been scheduled after cases top 6,000 worldwide
The World Health Organization (WHO) is due to meet again to determine whether monkeypox constitutes a major public health emergency, after thousands of infections have been reported in 58 countries.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday that the body’s emergency committee would meet later this month to discuss the rare virus, although he concluded in June that the monkeypox was not a “public health emergency of international concern”.
“On monkeypox, I continue to be concerned about the scale and spread of the virus,” he saidadding that WHO staff are “Track data” and that the committee would meet by the week of July 18 to provide updates on the progress of the outbreak.
Although Tedros noted that “testing remains a challenge” and say it’s “highly probable” that a large number of infections go undetected, he added that 6,000 cases have been recorded worldwide. Now spotted in 58 countries, infections have doubled since May.
Europe remains the epicenter of the current epidemic, accounting for around 80% of the cases seen worldwide, the WHO chief continued, also warning that the virus has reached some African countries not previously affected by monkeypox. which is endemic to a handful of the nations on the continent.
The WHO has not recommended mass vaccinations against monkeypox, instead suggesting increased surveillance for the virus to help healthcare providers diagnose and treat it. Nonetheless, officials in the US, UK, Canada and elsewhere have prepared to distribute vaccinations, with the White House now aiming to distribute nearly 2 million doses by the end of the year.
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Monkeypox virus can be spread through close contact with infected people, their bodily fluids, or other contaminated materials. Early symptoms include fever, head and muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, chills and exhaustion, and although most infections clear up without serious illness, the virus is fatal in a small percentage of cases.