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Is monkeypox a global health emergency? WHO experts divided on decision: report



The WHO is scheduled to hold a news conference today at 1300 GMT to announce the decision.


Members of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) expert group are divided over whether the monkeypox outbreak represents a global health emergency, but the agency’s director general could issue a maximum alert on Saturday, two sources close to the decision told Reuters. Told.

The committee, which met on Thursday, advises WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is responsible for making the final decision on whether to declare a global health emergency.

In the past, Tedros has always gone with the committee’s recommendation, but sources who spoke on condition of anonymity said he was concerned about the urgency of the agency’s highest-level alerts, despite his lack of majority opinion. were seriously considering announcing of situation.

The WHO is scheduled to hold a news conference at 1300 GMT on Saturday to announce its final decision.

The label – “Public Health Emergency of International Concern” – currently only applies to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing efforts to eradicate polio.

In recent weeks, there has been increasing pressure on the WHO and national governments from scientists and public health experts to take more action on monkeypox. So far, more than 14,000 cases and five deaths have been reported from 71 WHO member countries.

When the committee met for the first time in late June, there were only about 3,000 cases.

The WHO alert serves to raise the alarm and could also unlock funding and global efforts to collaborate on the sharing of vaccines and treatments.

There are already effective treatments and vaccines for monkeypox, but their supply is short. The WHO has already been providing advice and updates since the outbreak began in early May.

At the first meeting of the expert committee, the group said it would reconsider its position on the emergency declaration if the outbreak escalates.

In Europe and the United States, cases have been reported almost entirely in men who have sex with men, and the committee also noted that if other groups begin to report cases, especially children or other Those who are more vulnerable to the virus will reconsider it. Past outbreaks in endemic countries.

On Friday, the United States identified its first two monkeypox cases in children.

The committee has said that any variation in the virus, which is transmitted by close contact and causes sores and flu-like symptoms, may also be reconsidered.

The group is now divided between those who think that an emergency declaration will accelerate efforts to contain the disease, and those who do not think it meets the criteria because it has not yet spread to new groups of people or high There was mortality, the source said.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)