WHO says mpox still int'l public health emergency

Geneva, Feb 16 (IANS): The World Health Organization (WHO) said that a widespread outbreak of the mpox (monkeypox) remained a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).

The WHO officially declared in July 2022 that the mpox outbreak outside of the traditional endemic areas in Africa had already turned into a PHEIC, the highest level of alert that the global health authority could issue, Xinhua news agency reported.

In a statement on Wednesday, the WHO said its experts acknowledged the progress in the global response to the mpox outbreak and a further decline in the number of reported cases during the last few months.

However, a few countries continued to see a sustained incidence of cases, while other regions were likely to have under-reporting of confirmed cases. The WHO committee of experts and WHO Secretary-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus have therefore both maintained that mpox remains an international public health emergency.

The latest statistics from the WHO have shown that the current global risk of the mpox outbreak is assessed as moderate, while being reduced from moderate to low in the Region of South-East Asia. It also remains low in the Western Pacific Region.

Meanwhile, the WHO said its preparedness and response plan against the mpox outbreak, which was launched in July 2022 to help guide coordinated public health action, would come to an end in June 2023.

Two WHO regions, Europe and the Americas, which reported 95 percent of diagnosed cases, have maintained stable in case numbers during recent weeks.

As of February 3, 43 countries and territories had not detected any new cases in the past three months, the WHO European Region reported. The Region of the Americas has also reported a stable number of cases in the last six weeks, with 200 to 250 cases per week.



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