The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Tuesday said it would hold an emergency meeting next week to determine if the Monkeypox outbreak should be classified as a public health emergency of international concern.
“The outbreak of monkeypox is unusual and concerning. For that reason, I have decided to convene the Emergency Committee under the International Health Regulations next week, to assess whether this outbreak represents a public health emergency of international concern,” said WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
“WHO is also working with partners and experts from around the world on changing the name of monkeypox virus… and the disease it causes,” Tedros said, adding, “We will make announcements about the new names as soon as possible.”
Tedros said 1,600 confirmed Monkeypox cases and 1,500 suspected cases have been reported to the WHO this year from 39 countries, 32 of which have been recently hit by the virus.
While 72 deaths have been reported in countries where Monkeypox was already endemic, none have been seen in the newly affected countries, Tedros said.
“Although WHO is seeking to verify news reports from Brazil of a Monkeypox-related death there,” he added.
To fight the global spread, the WHO aims to recommend “tried-and-tested public health tools including surveillance, contact-tracing and isolation of infected patients”.