27 September 2023,   13:20
World Health Organization says monkeypox is not a global health emergency right now

The World Health Organization said the rapid spread of monkeypox across dozens of nations does not represent a global health emergency at this time.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus described monkeypox as an evolving health threat, however, and urged governments around the world to step up surveillance, contact tracing, testing and to make sure that people at high risk have access to vaccines and antiviral treatments.

The WHO convened its emergency committee to determine what level of threat monkeypox currently poses to the international community. At least 3,000 monkeypox cases across more than 50 countries have been identified since early May, according to WHO data.

Although the WHO did not activate its highest alert level, Tedros said the outbreak raises serious concern because it is spreading rapidly in countries where the virus is not normally found. Historically, monkeypox has spread at low levels in remote parts of West and Central Africa. In the current outbreak, 84% of cases reported worldwide are in Europe, which is very unusual.