Tuesday
August, 16

WHO Holds Emergency Meeting To Discuss Monkeypox

On Thursday, a World Health Organization expert committee will meet for the first time to discuss the monkeypox outbreak and decide whether it is a global health emergency.

The one-day private meeting was scheduled to begin at 1000 GMT, with a statement on the outcome expected on Friday.

Since May, there has been an increase in monkeypox cases outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic. The majority of the new cases have occurred in Western Europe.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has formed an emergency committee to determine whether the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern.

A PHEIC is the highest level of alert that the WHO can issue under the International Health Regulations, which are a legally binding framework agreed upon by 196 countries for dealing with public health events that may cross borders.

In addition to providing a PHEIC assessment, the committee members are expected to advise the WHO and its member states on how to better prevent disease spread and manage their response.

“Based on scientific principles and an assessment of the risk to human health, the risk of international spread, and the risk of interfering with international traffic,” the WHO stated.

Tedros then makes the final decision on whether to declare a PHEIC based on their advice.

Since 2009, there have been six PHEIC declarations, the most recent being for Covid-19 in 2020 — though the slow global response to the alarm bell continues to irritate the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

On January 22 and 23, 2020, emergency committee meetings on the new coronavirus outbreak were held, but the panel could not agree that the PHEIC threshold had been reached at that time.

On January 30, a PHEIC was declared following the third meeting. But it wasn’t until Tedros described the rapidly worsening situation as a pandemic on March 11 that many countries seemed to realize the danger.

More than 2,000 cases – As of June 15, the WHO had received reports of 2,103 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case of monkeypox, including one death, from 42 countries.

However, the WHO’s Europe office and the EU health agency ECDC reported 2,746 cases in Europe alone as of Tuesday.

“The monkeypox outbreak continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners,” according to the WHO.

Approximately 84 percent of the cases have been discovered in Europe, with the majority of cases reported from the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Canada, and France.

According to the WHO, there may have been undetected transmission for some time before its sudden appearance in multiple countries.

Given the low mortality rate, the UN health agency currently rates the global risk as moderate.

Tedros declared an emergency committee on June 14, describing the outbreak as “unusual and concerning.”

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On Thursday, a World Health Organization expert committee will meet for the first time to discuss the monkeypox outbreak and decide whether it is a global health emergency.

The one-day private meeting was scheduled to begin at 1000 GMT, with a statement on the outcome expected on Friday.

Since May, there has been an increase in monkeypox cases outside of the West and Central African countries where the disease has long been endemic. The majority of the new cases have occurred in Western Europe.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has formed an emergency committee to determine whether the outbreak is a public health emergency of international concern.

A PHEIC is the highest level of alert that the WHO can issue under the International Health Regulations, which are a legally binding framework agreed upon by 196 countries for dealing with public health events that may cross borders.

In addition to providing a PHEIC assessment, the committee members are expected to advise the WHO and its member states on how to better prevent disease spread and manage their response.

“Based on scientific principles and an assessment of the risk to human health, the risk of international spread, and the risk of interfering with international traffic,” the WHO stated.

Tedros then makes the final decision on whether to declare a PHEIC based on their advice.

Since 2009, there have been six PHEIC declarations, the most recent being for Covid-19 in 2020 — though the slow global response to the alarm bell continues to irritate the WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

On January 22 and 23, 2020, emergency committee meetings on the new coronavirus outbreak were held, but the panel could not agree that the PHEIC threshold had been reached at that time.

On January 30, a PHEIC was declared following the third meeting. But it wasn’t until Tedros described the rapidly worsening situation as a pandemic on March 11 that many countries seemed to realize the danger.

More than 2,000 cases – As of June 15, the WHO had received reports of 2,103 laboratory-confirmed cases and one probable case of monkeypox, including one death, from 42 countries.

However, the WHO’s Europe office and the EU health agency ECDC reported 2,746 cases in Europe alone as of Tuesday.

“The monkeypox outbreak continues to primarily affect men who have sex with men who have reported recent sex with new or multiple partners,” according to the WHO.

Approximately 84 percent of the cases have been discovered in Europe, with the majority of cases reported from the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, Portugal, Canada, and France.

According to the WHO, there may have been undetected transmission for some time before its sudden appearance in multiple countries.

Given the low mortality rate, the UN health agency currently rates the global risk as moderate.

Tedros declared an emergency committee on June 14, describing the outbreak as “unusual and concerning.”

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