Monkeypox: World Health Organisation declares global emergency over
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was ending a 10-month-long global health emergency for monkeypox after almost 90,000 reported cases in more than 100 countries.
The virus, also known as mpox, was declared a public health emergency of international concern last July 2022 but the organisation’s emergency committee recommended it be downgraded.
It means the disease which spreads through direct contact with body fluids and causes flu-like symptoms and pus-filled skin lesions is under control.
Nicola Low, vice chair of WHO’s emergency committee on mpox, said there was a need to move to a strategy for managing the long-term public health risks rather than relying on emergency measures.
Almost 90% fewer cases were reported in the past three months, compared with cases in the same duration before that, the organisation said.
More than 87,000 cases have been confirmed globally from the beginning of 2022 through May 8 this year.
WHO said it was particularly concerned about African countries which have been dealing with mpox long before the global outbreak began, and could continue to deal with it for some time to come.
The WHO recently also declared an end of public health emergency status for COVID-19 and its director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said: “While the emergencies of mpox and COVID-19 are both over, the threat of resurgent waves remains for both. Both viruses continue to circulate and both continue to kill.”
The WHO decided to rename it mpox after “racism and stigmatising language” emerged following the latest outbreak.
Human monkeypox was first given its name in 1970. The virus that causes the disease was discovered in captive monkeys in 1958.
Common signs of infection include the development of a new rash, fever, headache, muscle aches, exhaustion, and swollen lymph nodes.