WHO announces end of mpox as global health emergency

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared that the multi-country outbreak of the mpox virus, formerly known as monkey pox, was no longer a public health emergency of international concern.

The director general of the organisation, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, stated this yesterday while speaking to journalists in Geneva, Switzerland.

Over the last three months, he said many countries reported nearly 90 per cent fewer cases compared to the previous three-month period.

“The emergency committee for mpox met and recommended to me that the multi-country outbreak of mpox no longer represents a public health emergency of international concern. I have accepted that advice and I’m pleased to declare that mpox is no longer a global health emergency.

“However, as with COVID-19, that does not mean that the work is over. Mpox continues to pose significant public health challenges that need a robust, proactive and sustainable response,” he said.

The WHO issued the emergency declaration in July amid a major global uptick in cases.

The designation is reserved for the most serious disease outbreaks and has been assigned to seven since 2007: mpox, Covid, Zika, H1N1 flu, polio and Ebola (which has gotten the declaration twice).

More than 87,000 mpox cases and 140 deaths have been reported across 111 countries since January 2022, according to the WHO. The U.S. has recorded more than 30,000 cases and 42 deaths since May 2022, when the country’s outbreak began.

Mpox is a rare disease caused by infection with the mpox virus. Mpox symptoms are similar to smallpox symptoms, but milder, and mpox is rarely fatal.

It belongs to the family of poxviruses, which includes smallpox. People with the disease often develop a rash, which may be on the hands, feet, chest, face or mouth, or near the genitals.

Over the course of this outbreak, the virus has mostly spread through contact with lesions during sexual activity, and men represent the overwhelming majority of cases.

With agency reports

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