WHO to decide whether to elevate monkeypox to 'public health emergency of international concern'

The agency does not declare pandemics, but it did start using the term in March 2020 to describe COVID-19

Updated: June 23, 2022 - 9:56am

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The World Health Organization will decide Thursday whether to declare monkeypox a global health emergency.

The United Nations agency in January declared the virus an emergency, with the upcoming decision being on whether to declare it a "public health emergency of international concern," the WHO's highest level of alert, according to Reuters.

The agency does not declare pandemics, but it did start using the term in March 2020 to describe COVID-19, the wire service also reports.

Scientists in Africa say monkeypox has been a crisis in their region for years and have critical about the WHO deciding with to elevate its alert. 

The case count from the current outbreak outside of Africa is over 3,000 in more than 40 countries, according to a Reuters tally. The outbreak was first reported in May and has been found largely among men who have sex with men - since it was first reported in May. 

Unlike the coronavirus and its initial outbreak, there are vaccines and treatments available for monkeypox.

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