WHO convenes emergency committee to assess whether monkeypox is "a health emergency of international interest"

The World Health Organization announced on Tuesday that it would convene a meeting of its emergency committee on June 23 to assess whether smallpox smallpox, a highly contagious disease that has begun to spread in Europe, is “an emergency.” public health of international interest ”.

This is the highest level of warning issued by the WHO, which currently applies only to the coronavirus pandemic and polio. The increase in the number of cases is “unusual and worrying,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference, according to Agerpres.

“We believe that the situation requires a coordinated response because of the spread of the disease around the world,” he said. International experts “will help us better understand the virus,” the WHO chief added.

To date, there have been more than 1,600 confirmed cases and 1,500 suspected cases of monkeypox this year, including 72 deaths in 39 countries, including those in which the virus is commonly spread, the WHO said. quoted by Agerpres.

Smallpox is endemic in parts of Africa, but there have been more cases than usual in these countries, including Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and cases have been reported in other parts of the world. The virus causes flu-like symptoms and skin lesions, and spreads through close contact. According to the WHO, no deaths have been confirmed in countries where the disease is not endemic.

The WHO is currently considering “renaming the monkeypox virus”. “We will be announcing the new names as soon as possible,” Tedros said.

“The WHO’s goal is to help countries limit transmission and stop the epidemic through proven public health tools, including monitoring, tracking and isolating infected patients,” the WHO director-general said.

The World Health Organization released provisional guidelines on the use of monkeypox vaccines on Tuesday.

WHO does not recommend mass vaccination at this time.

“Any decision on whether or not to use vaccines should be made (…) on a case-by-case basis,” says WHO.

“It is essential that vaccines are available fairly where they are needed,” Tedros said, adding that WHO is working with Member States and its partners to develop a mechanism for equitable access to vaccines and treatments.

In the last two days, two cases of monkeypox infection have been reported in Romania.

Editor: Adrian Dumitru

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